The Internet of Things, emerging pervasive and sensor networks are low data-rate wireless networks with, a priori, no specific topology and no fixed infrastructure. Their primary requirements are twofold: First, low power consumption and, due to environmental concerns, low emitted power. Second, robustness to poor propagation environments and multi-user interference. Impulse-radio ultra-wide band (IR-UWB) physical layers have the potential to satisfy these requirements. Because the features of IR-UWB physical layers differ from narrow-band physical layers, the design rules of IR-UWB networks are likely to be different than for narrow-band wireless networks. Indeed, to optimally use the resources available, it is crucial for the network layers to take into account and take advantage of the underlying physical layer. Therefore, we are interested in the design of IR-UWB networks in a low data-rate, self-organized, and multi-hop context. We concentrate on the medium access control (MAC) layer and the physical layer. In the case of low data-rate IR-UWB networks, the optimal design is to allow for parallel and concurrent transmissions at the MAC layer. Interference is managed with rate adaptation, no power control and an interference mitigation scheme at the physical layer. A protocol that implements the optimal design and allows for parallel transmissions outperforms protocols that use exclusion or power control.