The capacity of a particular large Gaussian relay network is determined in the limit as the number of relays tends to infinity. Upper bounds are derived from cut-set arguments, and lower bounds follow from an argument involving uncoded transmission. It is shown that in cases of interest, upper and lower bounds coincide in the limit as the number of relays tends to infinity. Hence, this paper provides a new example where a simple cut-set upper bound is achievable, and one more example where uncoded transmission achieves optimal performance. The findings are illustrated by geometric interpretations. The techniques developed in this paper are then applied to a sensor network situation. This is a network joint source–channel coding problem, and it is well known that the source–channel separation theorem does not extend to this case. The present paper extends this insight by providing an example where separating source from channel coding does not only lead to suboptimal performance—it leads to an exponential penalty in performance scaling behavior (as a function of the number of nodes). Finally, the techniques developed in this paper are extended to include cer- tain models of ad hoc wireless networks, where a capacity scaling law can be established: When all nodes act purely as relays for a single source–destination pair, capacity grows with the logarithm of the number of nodes.