Wireless sensor networks are ideally built on low-cost, low-complexity nodes that have a low power consumption to guarantee a long network lifetime. These are all properties that can potentially be achieved with impulse radio ultra-wide band (IR-UWB). In addition, IR-UWB has a fine timing resolution resulting in accurate ranging and localization possible. For all these reasons, IR-UWB is an extremely interesting physical layer technology for wireless sensor networks. In this article, we consider the management of impulsive interference in IR-UWB networks. Impulsive interference is due to uncoordinated concurrent transmissions. It occurs, for instance, when several independent piconets operate in close vicinity and is also present in some MAC layer proposals that allow concurrent transmissions. If not properly addressed, impulsive interference can severely affect the throughput and energy consumption of an IR-UWB network; as such, it already needs to be taken into account in the design phase. First, we show that impulsive interference is a serious concern for IR-UWB networks. Second, we present techniques at the physical layer and at the link layer to cope with and combat such interference efficiently. Finally, we present DCC-MAC as an example of an interference-aware design.