Ultrawideband (UWB) is an attractive physical layer technology for wireless sensor networks due to its unique characteristics. Flexibility in adjusting the processing gain of UWB systems makes it possible to tune the data rate and transmission range to fulfill the requirements of specific applications. Conventional systems assign identical multiple access parameters to all users regardless of the signal-to-interference plus noise ratio of the received signal. In this paper an adaptive assignment scheme for multiple access parameters in cluster based wireless sensor networks is investigated. First, an orthogonal time hopping sequence construction is proposed for synchronous communications (downlink), where the number of pulses per symbol are adjusted to meet the bit error rate requirement of an application. Then, adaptation of multiple access parameters in asynchronous scenarios (uplink) is evaluated using a Gaussian approximation method to model the multiple access interference in two cases: one with fixed frame duration, where the goal is to increase the average throughput, and the other with fixed symbol duration, where the goal is to increase the network lifetime. Finally, a mathematical framework is developed for approximating the interference when the number of pulses per symbol and the frame duration vary. ©2004 IEEE.