Due to their excellent strength-to-weight ratio, honeycomb sandwich panels are being increasingly used in lightweight structures, in particular in aircraft and aerospace industry. Delaminations of individual plies in the composite skins or disbonds of a layer in the multi-layer plate structures often remain undetected during visual inspection. Using guided ultrasonic waves, such hidden defects can be detected. For the successful application of ultrasonic nondestructive testing methods, however, wave propagation characteristics have to be well-understood. Recently developed semi-analytical techniques allow for the calculation of dispersion characteristics for many materials. However, the elastic material behavior is often simplified for these calculations. For example, woven composite laminates are modeled as a homogeneous, transversely isotropic plate. While these simplifications only lead to minor errors, the modeling of aluminum honeycomb core sandwich panels with homogeneous, transversely isotropic layers has yet to be validated. In this paper, an efficient numerical approach is used to determine the dispersion characteristics of a honeycomb core layer with and without simplified material behavior. A full 3D-model, including the honeycomb cells, of a small representative volume element of the material is generated using finite elements, and the resulting dispersion curves are compared to the ones obtained from simplified models. In addition to dispersion curves, the displacement fields of the waves are also analyzed.