This paper addresses the problem of the evaluation of the delay distribution via analytical means in IEEE 802.11 wireless ad hoc networks. We show that the asymptotic delay distribution can be expressed as a power law. Based on the latter result, we present a cross-layer delay estimation protocol and we derive new delay-distribution-based routing algorithms, which are well adapted to the QoS requirements of real-time multimedia applications. In fact, multimedia services are not sensitive to average delays, but rather to the asymptotic delay distributions. Indeed, video streaming applications drop frames when they are received beyond a delay threshold, determined by the buffer size. Although delay-distribution-based routing is an NP-hard problem, we show that it can be solved in polynomial time when the delay threshold is large, because of the asymptotic power law distribution of the link delays.