Research Topics

My major interest is in the design and analysis of communication protocols for wireless networks and distributed systems. I have worked on a number of topics, including Internet of Things for Smart Cities (most popular paper in the IEEE digital library since feb 2014), Cognition-Based Networks , Multimedia Transmissions , and Ranging and localization algorithms , Capture analysis in wireless networks , Microfluidics Networks , TCP Westwood. I have contributed to a number of national and international research projects in the ICT area, and collaborated with several industries. Furthermore, I am one of the coordinators of the SIGnals and NETworking research lab (SIGNET) that I founded back in 2003.
In particular, I have been, and still are, active in the following areas. (Disclaimer: most of the activities listed below have been performed in collaboration with other researchers. Nonetheless, I am listening only the activities that were either coordinated by myself, or that I provided a major contribution to.)
  • Microfluidic networks. Microfluidic networks are an extremely new and exciting research field, which aims at developing basic networking functionalities for microfluidic systems, e.g., Lab-on-chip, where tiny volumes of fluids are circulated through channels with sub-millimeter size to realize a number of processes, from DNA analysis to cellular synthesis. While dedicated microfluidic LoCs are currently used in the medical and biomedical domains, the idea of connecting them into a flexible network is a totally new challenge with dramatic potential. I am currently participating to some national and international initiative to promote this new research branch.
  • Cognitive Networks. We have recently started a interdisciplinary project that aims at applying the most advanced cognitive techniques to the network optimization. To realize this vision, we need to gain a deeper understanding of learning and cognition mechanisms, such as deep learning, generative models, evolutionary computation and emergent behaviors, as developed by scientists working in the areas of cognition, behavior, and brain/neuroscience, and to apply such knowledge to design algorithms and communications/networking schemes that are much more capable then what is known and/or practical today.
  • Bluetooth. I have been working for a long while in the performance analysis of Bluetooth systems. In particular, I have developed mathematical models for the performance analysis and optimization of different polling strategies in Bluetooth piconets and scatternets, in order to maximize the aggregate throughout, reduce the delay, and minimize the energy consumption.
  • WLAN. In the context of WLAN, and in particular of IEEE 802.11 networks, I have proposed a mathematical models for the characterization of the throughput, delay, and energy consumption of the system when varying the number of users and the offered traffic. Furthermore, I have proposed control algorithms to maximize the quality of service of multimedia flows over WLANs.
  • Vehicular Networks. I have been working on VANETs for some time, mainly addressing the problem of efficient broadcast propagation. To this concern, I have proposed a mathematical model to assess the limiting performance of broadcast propagation in linear networks and some practical broadcast protocols for fast and reliable propagation of alert messages.
  • Fieldbus. Thanks to the collaboration with a colleague that is active in the field of industrial networks, I had the chance to contribute to the state of the art by providing a performance analysis of wireless fieldbus protocols for industrial applications.
  • Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN). In the context of WSN, I have been particularly interested to the localization problem. We have carried out a large number of experimental measurements by using the WSN testbeds set up in the SIGNET Lab and we have used these data to characterize a number of different localization techniques, also involving autonomous mobile robots. We have focused on RSSI-based localization techniques only and, despite the general skepticism against RSSI-based ranging, we found that it is actually possible to achieve fairly good localization in indoor environments, provided that the characteristics of the hardware used to perform the measurements are well understood.
  • Miscellaneous. I am currently working on some rather new and interesting topics, one of which concerns the design of switching mechanisms for microfluidic systems, with the aim of realizing basic switching modules that can be combined in a modular manner to form a microfluidic network. This activity is still at a very early stage, though. I am also looking at the problem of controlling a system in presence of unreliable and realistic feedback channel. Recently, I have been involved in the analysis of mechanism for optimal energy managing in Smart Grid systems. Finally, I am enjoying in the coordination of the EPIC project, which aims at realizing and App for Android (and, in a second time, iOS) devices that makes it possible for the users to exchange content in an epidemic manner, and to trace the geographical path followed by the content by means of a suitable webpage.


  • Title: ''Advanced and novel hydrology models based on enhanced data collection, analysis, and prediction''
  • Topic: Application of ICT and ML techniques for improving the accuracy of hydrological models, optimize water management, and predict extreme events.
  • Role: PI
  • Website:
  • WindMill (EU - MSCA-ITN-2018)
  • Title: ''Integrating wireless communication engineering and machine learning''
  • Topic: Application of ML techniques for wireless network optimization
  • Role: PI for UNIPD
  • Website:
  • MINTS (EU - MSCA-ITN-2019 - no. 861222)
  • Title: 'Millimeter-wave Networking and Sensing for Beyond 5G''
  • Topic: Mitigating the impact of network dynamics and density on the performance and resilience of mmWave networks and advancing mmWave technology in order to leverage it in emerging EU and international markets.
  • Role: ESRs supervisor
  • Website:
  • GREENEDGE (EU - MSCA-ITN-2020 - no. 953775)
  • Title: ''Taming the environmental impact of mobile networks through GREEN EDGE computing platforms''
  • Topic: Minimizing energy impact of mobile networks, machine learning, and distributed computing.
  • Role: WP2 leader, ESRs supervisor
  • Website:
  • INFORMA (Fondazione Ca.Ri.Pa.Ro.)
  • Title: ''Sistema informatico interattivo per la stimolazione e la riabilitazione cognitiva del paziente con malattia di Alzheimer a domicilio''
  • Topic: Development of a mobile service for the home cognitive rehabilitation of Alzheimer's patients
  • Role: Technical manager
  • TITAN (DoD)
  • Title: ''Towards Intelligent Tactical Ad-hoc Network''
  • Topic: Analysis of communication strategies in tactical environments
  • Role: Co-PI
  • Title: ''Large-Scale Simulator for Internet of Things and Wireless Sensor Networks based on the ns-3 platform''
  • Topic: Evaluate the performance of IEEE 802.11ax in time sensitive industrial scenarios
  • Role: PI
  • PSC6 (NIST)
  • Title: ''An End-to-End Research Platform for Public Safety Communications above 6 GHz''
  • Topic: development of a powerful integrated, end-to-end, research platform for the design and evaluation of mmWave PSC network
  • Role: PI
  • ULPR (Ultra Low Power Radios for IOT) (INTEL ISRA program)
  • Title: ''EC-CENTRIC: An Energy and Context-Centric Perspective on IoT Architecture and Protocol Design''
  • Topic: Design of ultra energy efficient access/routing protocols for WSNs
  • Role: co-PI
  • MEDIEVAL (Strep, IST Project No. FP7-ICT-258053)
  • Title: ''MultimEDia transport for mobIlE Video AppLications''
  • Topic: optimization of transport protocols for multimedia flows on next generation wireless networks
  • Role: researcher
  • ARAGORN (Strep, IST Project No. FP7-ICT-216856)
  • Title: ''Adaptive Reconfigurable Access and Generic interfaces for Optimisation in Radio Networks''
  • Topic: tecniche cognitive per l’ottimizzazione di sistemi radio eterogenei
  • Role: local coordinator
  • NEWCOM++ (Network of Excellence, IST Project FP7-ICT-2007.1.1)
  • Title: ''Network of Excellence in Wireless Communications''
  • Topic: WP11 ''Opportunistic Networking''
  • Role: coordinator of the research unit CNIT-PD for WP11
  • Embedded WiSeNts (Coordination Action, IST Project FP6-2002-004400)
  • Title: ''Cooperating Embedded Systems for Exploration and Control featuring Wireless Sensor Networks''
  • Topic: cooperative embedded systems
  • Role: coordinator of the research unit at University of Padova. Leader of work package 4: ''Education and Training''. Leader of task 3.2.1: ''Paradigms for algorithms and Interactions''
  • NEWCOM (Network of Excellence, IST Project FP6-ICT-2002-
  • Title: ''Network of Excellence in Wireless COMmunications''
  • Topic: Inter-vehicular communications, ad hoc networks
  • Role: local coordinator of the activities concerning JPA
  • COST273 (COST Action)
  • Title: ''Towards Mobile Multimedia Networks''
  • Topic: WP3: ``Radio Network Aspects''
  • Role: local coordinator for WP3
  • Furthermore, he has been actively participating to a number of national projects and research contracts with leading companies in the ICT field (Philips, ST-microelectronics, TILAB).


  1. 2019 GTTI PhD award for PhD Theses in the field of Communication Technologies for the thesis "Solutions for large scale, efficient, and secure Internet of Things" authored by Daniel Zucchetto under the supervision of Andrea Zanella.
  2. Best Paper Award in 2019 for the paper A. De Biasio, F. Chiariotti, M. Polese, A. Zanella and M. Zorzi, "A QUIC Implementation for ns-3," in the Proceedings of the Workshop on Next-Generation Wireless with ns-3 (WNS3), 21 June 2019, Florence, Italy
  3. Outstanding paper award in 2018 for the paper G. Cisotto, A. V. Guglielmi, L. Badia and A. Zanella, "Classification of grasping tasks based on EEG-EMG coherence" in the Proceedings of the IEEE 20th International Conference on e-Health Networking, Applications and Services (Healthcom) 17-20 Sep. 2018, Ostrava, Czech Republic.
  4. Best student paper award in 2017 for the paper Marco Giordani, Andrea Zanella and Michele Zorzi, "Millimeter Wave Communication in Vehicular Networks: Challenges and Opportunities " in the Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Circuits and Systems Technologies (MOCAST) Thessaloniki, Greece, 4 - 6 May 2017 .
  5. Best student paper award in 2014 for the paper Francesco Guidolin, Irene Pappalardo, Andrea Zanella, Michele Zorzi, "Context-Aware Handover in HetNets" in the Proceedings of the European Conference on Networks and Communications 2014, June 23/26, 2014, Bologna, Italy.
  6. Best paper award in 2010 for the paper E. Menegatti, M. Danieletto, M. Mina, A. Pretto, A. Bardella, S. Zanconato, P. Zanuttigh, and A. Zanella, "Autonomous discovery, localization and recognition of smart objects through WSN and image features" in the proceedings of the IEEE Globecom 2010 Workshop on Towards SmArt COmmunications and Network technologies applied on Autonomous Systems, 6 december 2010, Miami, Florida, USA
  7. I was granted with the IEEE Senior member Grade in 2013.