Abstract : we analyze IEEE 802.15.4 mechanisms including node organization, MAC mechanisms, energy conservation, topology construction and node association. We detail how we should modify IEEE 802.15.4 to cope efficiently with multihop topologies, scheduling the transmissions. We quantify the impact of the cluster-tree algorithm on the network performances. We expose how the overall throughput can be improved with a novel cluster-tree construction algorithm defined formally as a Mixed Integer Linear Programming formulation. We quantify the impact of each parameter on the performances of IEEE 802.15.4. In particular, we present a self-configuration algorithm to dynamically adjust the Backoff Exponent so that the protocol always operates in optimal conditions.