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Wireless Multimedia Sensor Networks (WMSNs) are distributed systems of wirelessly networked devices that allow retrieving video and audio streams, still images, and scalar sensor data. WMSNs will be a crucial component of mission-critical networks to protect the operation of strategic national infrastructure, provide support to counteract emergencies and threats, and enhance infrastructure for tactical military operations. To enable these applications, WMSNs require the sensor network paradigm to be re-thought in view of the need for mechanisms to deliver multimedia content with a pre-defined level of quality of service (QoS). In this paper, a new cross-layer communication architecture based on the time-hopping impulse radio ultra wide band technology is described, whose objective is to reliably and flexibly deliver QoS to heterogeneous applications in WMSNs, by leveraging and controlling interactions among different layers of the protocol stack according to applications requirements. Simulations show that the proposed system achieves the performance objectives of WMSNs without sacrificing on the modularity of the overall design.