Network coding has been shown to offer significant throughput benefits over store-and-forward routing in certain wireless network topologies. However, the application of network coding may not always improve the network performance. In this paper1, we provide a comprehensive analytical study, which helps in assessing when network coding is preferable to a traditional store-and-forward approach. Interestingly, our study reveals that in many topological scenarios, network coding can in fact hurt the throughput performance; in such scenarios, applying the store-and-forward approach leads to higher network throughput. We validate our analytical findings via extensive testbed experiments, and we extract guidelines on when network coding should be applied instead of store-and-forward.