For an easy implementation of wireless sensor and actuator networks (WSAN), the state-of-the-art is offering single-chip solutions embedding in the same device a microcontroller core with a wireless transceiver. These internet-on-chip devices support different protocols (Bluetooth, ZigBee, Bluetooth Low Energy, sub- GHz links), from about 300 MHz to 6 GHz, with max. sustained bit-rates from 250 kb/s (sub-GHz links) to 4 Mb/s (Wi-Fi), and different trade-offs between RX sensitivity (from -74 to -100 dBm), RX noise figure (few dB to 10 dB), maximum TX power (from 0 to 22 dBm), link distances, power consumption levels (from few mW to several hundreds of mW). One limit for their successful application is the missing of an easy-to-use modeling and simulation environment to plan their deployment. The need is to predict, before installing a network, at which distances the sensors can be deployed, the real achievable bit-rate, communication latency, outage probability, power consumption, battery duration. To this aim, this paper presents the H2AWKS (Harsh environment and Hardware Aware Wireless linK Simulator) simulator, which allows the planning of a WSAN taking into account environment constraints and hardware parameters. Applications of H2AWKS to real WSAN case studies prove that it is an easy to use simulation environment, which allows design exploration of the system performance of a WSAN as a function of the operating environment and of the hardware parameters of the used devices.