Unifi Controller Setup Guide [step-by-step]

Setting up a Unifi Controller is really simple and can be done in a couple of minutes with this beginner’s guide. We are going to walk through the initial setup of the controller, connecting the access points and getting the most performance out of it.

Also, I will give you some tips on choosing the right Unifi Access Point, where you should place your AP, and how to get the most performance out of your Unifi access points.

unifi controller setup

The great thing about the Unifi range is that you get enterprise-class wifi for an affordable price. What you also will discover is that they are super easy to set up and manage. And if you like statics, you will get some great insights into your network as well.

Which Unifi Access Point Should You Choose?

Ubiquiti offers a wide range of Access Points, but in this article, I will focus on the most used access points for home networks and small and medium-sized businesses. You can find a complete overview of all the models in this UniFi access point comparison.

The most used Access Point at home or at small businesses is the Unifi 6 Lite. The reason is simple, it’s small (only ∅160 mm), cheap, and powerful enough. Depending on the layout of your home or office you can better buy two smaller access points than one large one. Walls, floors, and other obstacles will lower the signal strength. If you want to know more about it, you should check this article.

The UniFi 6 Lite is a new model that supports WiFi 6, which increases the efficiency and multi-device performance of the access points. WiFi 6 still operates in the same 2.4 and 5Ghz band, but it can now transmit to multiple devices at the same time.

There are three options to choose from, the Lite, Long Range (LR), and the Pro.

Unifi AC-Lite Unifi AC-LR Unifi AC Pro
Size (diameter)160mm175mm 198mm
2.4 GHz speed 300Mbps450Mbps450Mbps
2.4 GHz Antennas2x23x33x4
5 Ghz speed876Mbps876Mbps1300Mbps
5 GHz Antennas2x22x23x3
Range122m (400ft)183m (600ft)183m (600ft)
PriceCheck on AmazonCheck on AmazonCheck on Amazon

Unifi AC LR vs PRO

The difference between the lite and the other is obvious, but the difference between the Unifi AC-LR and the Unifi AC-PRO is a bit harder. You might be tempted to buy the faster and more expensive AC-PRO (bigger is better / more antennas is better / more expensive is better ? ). But there is a big and important difference between the two.

The AC-Pro has 3×3 MIMO antennas to get that high network speed, but to use it, your endpoint (notebook, smartphone, TV) must also be able to handle it. So if you are after maximum speed and you have a notebook that also supports a 5ghz network at 1300 Mbps, then you should go for the AC-Pro.

The AC-LR has a bigger and more sensitive antenna. This allows it to cover a bigger area, but even more importantly, pick up the weaker signal from a smartphone or tablet. Mobile devices have only a small antenna built into it due to the lack of space and aesthetics. So they can receive the signal of a powerful access point, but they can’t send it the same distance back. That is why you need a big and sensitive antenna to pick the weak signals up.

Where to place the Access Point

For in-house placements, the UniFi 6 Lite and the Long Range models are most of the time the best fit. To determine where to place the Access Point you need to keep in mind that the Unifi Access Point has a doughnut shape coverage with the Access Point in the middle.

Also, try to place the Access Point in the room where the wifi is used the most and at least 3 feet away from other appliances that send wireless signals at the same frequency (cordless phones and microwaves for example). Also, large metal objects (fireplaces, chimneys) tend to weaken the signal.

Depending on your floor type you will need one for every floor or you can do with just one Access Point on the first floor or ground floor ceiling. If you have wooden floors, you could start with just one Access Point. Place it in a central location without any obstruction for the best coverage. When you have concrete floors, you will need to install an Access Point on every floor for decent coverage. The rebar and concrete weaken the signal too much for good coverage.

You can also check out this post about the best home network setup. It has some example floorplans where you can see how important the right location is for a good Wi-Fi signal.

Unifi Controller Setup

So we now know what to buy, and where to place it, but how do we install and manage it? To manage our access points we are going to install the Unifi Controller. With the Unifi Setup Wizard, it is done in a couple of minutes.

Step 1 – Unpack and Connect

I won’t go into detail too much about the actual placement of the Access Point, the Unifi Access Points come with perfectly clear installation instructions on how to mount the Access Point.

But before you actually place it, first just connect it to your switch or router with the supplied PoE adapter. This way you can install it, reset it, and see what happens more easily than walking upstairs to check the status light all the time 😉

Step 2 – Download the Unifi Controller Software

We are going to install the Unifi Controller to manage our access points. Now the Unifi Controller doesn’t have to be running all the time. So you can install it on your computer, configure your Access Points and they will keep working.

The only disadvantage is that you don’t have all the insights that you get when the controller is running 24/7. Another option is to use the Cloud key, a small device that is bought separately for $ 90,- and that you connect to your network. When connected you can manage your network remotely.

To install and manage the Unifi Access Point we need to download the controller. Go to the download page at ui.com/download and download the latest controller from Windows, Mac or Linux:

Make sure that you have Java11 JRE installed on your device. If you don’t have it installed, then the installation will warn you about it.

Step 3 – Install Unifi Controller

After you installed the software, start the controller and hit Launch a Browser to Manage a Network or go to https://localhost:8443 in your browser. When you get a warning just click Advanced” and Continue to…

Sign in with your Ubiquiti Account

You can create a Ubiquiti Account at account.ui.com. This way you can manage your controller from everywhere via unifi.ui.com and use the same credentials locally.

If you don’t want to use the cloud service, you will have to switch to Advanced Setup

  • Disable Remote Acces
  • Disable Use your Ubiquiti account for local Access
  • Create a local admin user
Unifi Controller Setup

Unifi Network Setup

In step 4 we leave Automatically optimize my network and auto backup on. The backups are stored on the controller and can be downloaded in the settings screen.

Unifi Network settings

Configure Devices

On the next page, Configure Devices, you will see the connected Access Points. Select the devices that you want to configure. If there are no discovered devices, but your Access Point is running and the light is glowing white then there is something wrong (obvious).

  1. Check your local firewall. If you have any internet protection software running like Norton, Avast or any other firewall software on your computer, open it and disable your firewall to see if you can find the devices.
  2. Download the Ubiquiti Device Discovery Tool from the Chrome App Store. With this tool, you can scan your network for Ubiquiti devices. Check if they are on the same network as you are.
  3. Reset the Access Point, and hold the reset button for 5 sec to set it back to factory settings.
Adding device to the controller

Configure WiFi

Enter a name for your Wi-Fi network and a strong password. You can change these details later. Also adding a guest network can be done later. I recommend combining the 2Ghz en 5Ghz networks. For most devices, this is the best solution.

Unifi Controller WiFi setup

Review your settings

The last step is to review your settings and click finish


When done click finish and log in for the first time into the controller. You will see the dashboard with the connected devices.

Unifi Controller Dashboard

Optimizing your Access Points

Out of the box, the Unifi Access Points are doing a great job. But with a few small changes, you can get more performance out of it!

Upgrading the firmware

So we are now logged in to the controller and our Access Point is running. The first thing we should do is upgrade the firmware. The upgrade contains the latest bug fixes and features for your Access Point. Go to Devices and click on Upgrade on the right side when hovering over the devices

Bandwidth steering

Bandwidth steering helps dual-band clients, like laptops, mobile phones, tablets, etc. to use to less-congested and higher capacity, 5 GHz band. This will result in better WiFi performance for those devices. You can enable and configure bandwidth steering per device in the Unifi Controller.

Go to Site and enable Advanced features under the services section. Then go to devices and select the access point. Under config (on the right side) you will find bandwidth steering. Set it to Prefer 5G.

Disable the wifi on your old Router

The last step is to disable the wifi on your old router because the UAP is strong enough to cover your entire house. You can’t just unplug your router, you need it for your internet connection. To disable the wifi on your router, you need to log in to the admin interface of your router (most of the time you will find it on or, find the Wireless settings, and turn it off.

See also:

126 thoughts on “Unifi Controller Setup Guide [step-by-step]”

  1. Hello Ruud,
    This is a message from a fellow Dutchman living abroad, where not everyone is always as helpful as we would like them to be.

    We have a largish site, with some 20 Unifi WAPs and some other ancillary kit such as EV charger and heat pump, connected through 2 Unifi 8-60W switches and a variety of Mikrotik Routerboards to a microwave connection and on to the outside world.

    The system was set up and is controlled by a local ISP, who we would like to get away from. We have recently had 900+ mbps FTTP installed, onto which we would like to transfer all of our existing network. Physically that is not a problem, and it is not a problem to physically reach all switches, APs and routerboards.

    We find all of our network is controlled by/from the ISP, whose controller we cannot access, so we cannot “forget” these devices in that controller. The ISP is unwilling to help, thinking they can force us to stay (or perhaps pay a hefty fee for their service).

    Is there a way to reset, reconfigure, forget these devices (switches, APs, and perhaps routerboards (although they do not show in the topology)) and take them away from control by their system without access to their controller? We have acquired a Unifi Cloud Key G2plus so we can control our LAN from within once we are loose from them.

    We have reset one of our Unifi switches (minus the “forget” step) but find that it is still within and controlled by the ISP’s network. We have not done the same with any APs yet. This is also still the case after we had taken this switch off the microwave connection and physically connected it to the outside world through the Fibre connection.

    We have a link to a web page from our ISP showing the Unifi controller, with the topology etc of our part of their network, but any control buttons are greyed out, non-functional.

    Any help you can provide would be very much appreciated.

    PS we have a close friend with intimate knowledge of CLI, SSH, etc, but who does not know much about physical networks. Any software-based interventions should therefore not pose any problem, as long as we know where to start and what to expect.

    Kind regards,


    • You should be able to factory reset the devices using the reset button. Make sure you hold it long enough (otherwise you will only do a soft reset). After factory reset you can adopt them in your new controller. You will however need to reconfigure everything.

      Checkout this article for instructions on the resetting the accesspoints and switches

  2. Hi Ruud, Thanks for the article, I have an issue with my new U6-Pro could you please help? My new U6-Pro did not show up for Unifi Dream Machine to be adopted

    I reset my modem, the UDM and the U6-Pro to factory reset.
    I set up the modem and UDM.
    I am able to configure my new AP using my iphone app or Controller software on my Windows Laptop (and configure it as standalone device), my AP is connected to my network via an ethernet cable and a switch. Now I reset it again and the light is solid white now.
    I can Ping the AP from the UDM, Ssh it, set-inform it but the info was “unreachable”
    I can not Ping the UDM although I’m using it(?)
    I turned off Firewall on my Laptop but the AP still could not show up.
    The modem can see both UDM and AP’s IP.

    No matter how many times I tried, The U6-Pro couldn’t show up in the UDM? How can my UDM connect to my access point and adopt it? Could you please shed some lights on this? Thank you so much.

  3. Why is it when something happens on a Unifi Network. And the original TECH who installed, is not there. Why are these devices SO DIFFICULT to debug.

    Unifis are nice, for what they are.

    But, I wouldn’t recommend this product to any client/business i’ve found.

    How do I “Jump in” to someone else’s work. That I know nothing about the pre existing UniFi setup?

  4. so if i have 3 wifi access points (linksys mesh system) how do i set it up so that my phone switches to the nearest access point if the wifi network name is the same for the whole house – i have found that there is no way to know if it is switching to the nearest one and the connectivity lags or drops when i move from room to room – but the phone says it is ‘connected’ to the wifi network – i am not sure i understand how to configure it so that the devices ‘change’ automatically to connect to the strongest signal – hope that makes sense

    • It will automatically switch to another access point if the signal is stronger. If you want to test it, install the Wifiman app from Ubiquiti on your phone. The app will show all wireless networks, including the access points and channels.

      • Hej Rudy,
        You mentioned Wifiman and lately it keeps telling me it can’t use Signal Mapper.
        All of my equipment is UniFi except the AT&T router.
        Any thoughts?


          • Ah! Thank you for the explanation.
            I have been looking to replace it with something newer but it doesn’t seem like there is a good small replacement for the USG-3P.
            If you don’t mind I would like your opinion on a reasonable option for a home network.
            I noticed the Dream Router but my current config is:
            UAP-AC-LR on the wall just above the USG
            2 – USW-Flex-Mini

            Would the Dream router be strong enough to replace the UAP-AC-LR?
            I am using mesh for both the Beacon and U6. They are reasonably close to the UAP.
            For history I originally only had the UAP as the LR made it work decently in the whole house. Working from home now the Beacon helped on one side of the house and the U6 helped push the signal to a shed in the backyard. I would like to wire the U6 one day but so far so good with mesh.

            Sorry for stealing this comment thread.

            Thank you very much,

          • The dream router has a pretty high antenna gain (higher than the LR), so it should be able to cover the same area. But that being said, an access point is often mounted to the ceiling or high on the wall. The Dream Router is most likely placed on a side table or in a closet. Furniture in line of sight between the DR and the client will reduce the signal strength. So if the DR can replace the LR really depends on the placement.

  5. Ruud, good info here.

    My daughter lives in a remote rural area on 10 acres. If she mounts a Unifi access point, connecting the ethernet cable to her modem and using a POE injector, is it possible for me to adopt and manage the access point from my computer (1200 miles away) with the Unifi network application? She doesn’t have the time or desire to get into that universe. I’m thinking she might need more than one AP to cover her property and I would like to set up a mesh network for her. Or is the better option to just install a unifi access point standalone and just live without a mesh network?


  6. Thank you for your article. I have been working with the Unifi APs for about a year and find them to work well.
    I have two questions.
    1 – Is there a way to set up a UAP(stand-alone) without a controller, on a PC. I could only find a way to do it with a smartphone.

    2 – I have a neighbor that obtains their Internet via a different path than me. We both lose our Internet connections, but not that often at the same time. I set up point-to-point Ubiquiti radios to attach our networks together. I took the output of the Ubiquiti radio at my house and connected it to the WAN port of a secondary router. I turned off DHCP on the LAN side of the router and connected it to my network with an IP address of My LAN is at 192.168.1.X.

    I then connected my Unifi Gateway Pro secondary WAN port to my LAN and configured the secondary WAN port to point the the router.

    I was hoping to automatically switch to the secondary WAN port which will route to the radios if my Internet connection failed. It did not work.

    What I am really looking for is a way to have us both have a failover to each other in the event one of our networks fails using one pair of radios. I think this will require a router on each side of the radios.

    Is it acceptable to have two or three different subnets running on a LAN? Of course, only one of them can have a DHCP server. The other LANS would have to have static IP settings.

    Any thoughts?

    • Two routers are indeed required to create such a failover principle. Multiple subnets on the same LAN are not a problem.

      And the smartphone is the only option for a standalone installation.

  7. Hi,
    Attempted to setup local controllers a couple of years ago but failed for unknown reasons and gave up. Needed an additional AP@home so finally got it working with the latest software and a factory reset of the devices in my network.
    How do I remove my previous attempts to create controllers? Couldn’t find an obvious way to delete them.


  8. Ruud,
    Great article.
    I have a question about the Uplink Connectivity Monitor.
    I’m new to Ubiquiti so I wanted to understand how your questions of “If your controller is not online 24/7…” applies to my setup.
    I have a cloud key but I don’t have a browser opened to the dashboard all the time.
    Should I turn off Uplink Connectivity Monitor or leave it on?


  9. I am trying to set up an outdoor “mesh” using UAP-AC-M units to cover my campground. I am using long range bridges and have a single UAP-AC-M connected up “hardwired” to each bridge. From there I am using 2 units “wirelessly” as repeaters on each one. What I am seeing now is instead of repeater B connecting to the main bridge which has a better signal, it is connecting to repeater A. Is there a way of directing this unit to connect to the main access point instead of repeating off of another repeater?
    Any help will be great.

    • Yes, you can set the minimum RSSI level on the access point. This will require the client to have a minimum signal strength when connecting.

      Another option is to create a separated wireless network (SSID) for the bridge and repeaters.

      • I found under the “RF” tab the ability to keep each unit from getting connected to by a repeater or to keep each unit from connecting to a repeater. This allowed me to set the repeaters to connect to the right access points.

  10. Hi Team
    I configured the first Unifi AP AC PRO with the name SSID: home and i was successfully, i turned off the device and disconnected. Then i configured the next device with different SSID name but when i turn on my mobile wifi i see the same name from the first device i named as HOME, what is the problem

    • Have you installed the Unifi Controller? There is no need to turn off the access point when adding an extra AC. You can simply adopt it in the controller.

  11. Hi Rudy
    I have 3 LR AP all connected to the USG, I am having issues streaming You Tube, it takes a long time to connect & the buffering is around 3 to 4 minutes before the video plays. Streaming Netflix is okay. I am on fiber 900/450 plan.
    Channel width – VHT 80
    Channel – Auto
    Transmit power – Medium
    Please advise how to optimize You Tube streaming

  12. Just to add clarity. The new home is wired ethernet to all rooms and provision for one access point connection in each of the two floors. We are thinking to add a unmanaged switch after the ISP provided modem/router. Connect two access points.
    Since I dont have much knowledge I want to keep it simple to start with.
    Your articles gave me confidence to move forward, but still want to keep it simple to startwith.

  13. How to setup the same SSID for the two access points (in two floors) so that the connection is maintained when moving from one floor to other floor.

    • If you use an Unifi access point, then you can easily configure one SSID of all the access points. If you want to use another brand, then just enter the same SSID and WPA key on both devices. Only use a different channel of each access point.

  14. For your Ubiquity Account take care:

    Make sure in the username, first name, and the last name there should be no space in between.

    Otherwise you can get in to your Unifi Controller

  15. Hallo Ruud,

    Ik heb zojuist een UAP-AC-M access point gekocht. De configuratie lukt echter niet.
    Ik maak gebruik van de meegeleverde PoE. Tot aan de laatste stap (6 ) gaat alles goed maar bij Finish knop krijg ik een melding “Cannot configure Controller”
    Bij Device setup (stap 4) ziet hij keurig mijn model UniFi-AP-AC-Mesh. Dus verbinding is ok lijt mij. Heb jij nog advies om verder door het configuratie menu te komen

  16. Hi,

    I have a U6-LR AP and it doesn’t connect to my MAC faster than 866 Mbps.
    Any idea how I could achieve the 1300 Mpbs speed connection (limited by my Mac’s WiFi)?
    My current settings are: 160MHz, channel 100

    Thanks for your help.

    • How is the access point connected? Keep in mind that any obstruction between the AC and your MAC will lower the throughput, especially when using a width bandwidth and high frequency. Have you tested it with WifiMan?

      • Hi Ruud,

        Many thanks for your reply.

        The access point is connected via a Cat6 cable to a router. Both the router and the AP tells me that the wire connection is 1000 Mbps.

        To check the speed, I just use OPTION + click on the WiFi signal on my MAC and it tells me the Tx rate. With my Apple Airport Time Capsule this was 1300 Mbps. Now it’s 866 Mbps (best case). The UniFi network controller also tells me that the speed of the connection is 866 Mbps. Any idea why I can’t see any higher speed? My MacBook is not 802.11ax it’s ac only; therefore, I’d expect to see 1732 or at least 1300.

        Thanks for your thoughts.


        • Hi Ruud,

          I changed the channel width from 160 MHz to 80 MHz and now the Tx rate goes up to 1300 Mbps.


      • Hi Ruud, thanks for the interesting article. I was wondering how you think about the fast roaming option? Should i enable it for better performance? Thanks for answering!

        • Well, the concept is great, but the implementation.. Unifi Access Points do have a lot of problems when fast roaming is enabled, the implementation is just a bit buggy. You can take a look at setting the minimal RSSI per access point (But a wrong configuration there is also a recipe for connection problems)

  17. Hi Ruud,

    I am already running a cloud key in one of my site. When I logged into my Unifi portal, I can see a new cloud key that I want to install for new site. I think that cloud key itself is a controller, am I right? or do I need to install controller in my laptop despite having cloud key?
    I apologize but it is confusing for me to install this devices? How can I add cloud key, APs for the new location, so that I can see it in the same Unifi network portal?

    Thank you in Advance

  18. Ruud, thank you for this tutorial.
    I was stumbling on it while searching for solutions for implementing a separate WiFi network (IP@ range and SSID) for my IoT devices.
    I use a number of devices with Tasmota fw over IP (which i do trust) but also some IP devices with proprietary fw. like wifi camera’s. And i would like to separate theis from my normal home WiFi net.
    Do you have any experience with implementing that and could that be done with e.g. a single Unify AP?

    • You could enable client isolation, that would help a little. Better is to use vLANs for this, but you will need to set it up from the router through the switch and in the accesspoint.

  19. Interesting and engaging comments.

    Question regarding the BANDWIDTH STEERING – prefer 5g

    On the UI forums it is often stated that this does not work, and will cause problems. I’m hoping that those comments are old(er) and that in your opinion it IS NOW time to start using steering.


    • Yeah, that is an interesting question. In my opinion, you can turn it on and see how it goes. In the controller you can check how devices (clients) are connected. If it doesn’t give any problems leave it on. The problems are related to devices that keep switching back or you are left with a weaker 5ghz signal because it’s almost out of range for example.

  20. Hi,

    Thanks for the article.

    I have UAP-AC-PRO devices running in two separate houses. Can I configure them on the same UniFi controller or do they have to be separate? If separate how do i go about doing that.



  21. Hi, thanks for this article, it was very helpful.

    I have setup my Uniquity system with 2 APs. 1 x UAP-AC-LR and 1 x UAP-AC-PRO. They are about 50 m apart at opposite ends of the house. The PRO is more central, but some devices seem to have difficulty connecting to the LR when moving between the PRO and LR, and so roaming around the house is a problem. Is there a something I need to be aware of with respect to how the 2 AP’s interact ?


    • You can try lowering the transmit power in the radio settings of one of the access points. If the transmit power it to high then your device will stay connected too long to the access point.

      • Yes that sorted it , thanks. I set the transmit power on the Pro AP to medium, and now devices switch between access points more seamlessly.

  22. hello,

    i was told that with my Ubiquiti Networks ER-4 I can use that and pair it with the AC-Pro and that way I can get Wifi from my Wired only setup if I wish? And it can be powered just with that router? Ubiquiti told me I can just use the router with it? And if so How would that work? The unifi acpro can get your wireless devices to your wired network I read somewhere? Sorry all of this confuses me. I would just need one access point.

    Basically I use my computer and my smart tv hooked up right now only to my edgerouter 4 max this product


    I just want that to connect to Wifi for my phone and other wireless things I have for example my Ipad etc.

    would poe adapator included with the device help? I first need to make the purchase soon. But I need help undestanding how it can work in my wired only internet setup to get somethings on it for wifi and to be able to turn off Wifi when I do not need it on.

    easy setup for me I hope?

    • Hi Sean,

      You can indeed connect your AC-Pro to the EdgeRouter ER-4, it will need a network cable from the route to the access point. To be clear, the ER-4 can’t power the access point. But with the ER-4 comes a Power over Ethernet (PoE) adapter. You can place the adapter near the router.

      So you will get the following network connections:

      Router <--> PoE Adapter
      Power <--> PoE Adapter

      PoE Adapter <--> Access Point

      Hope this made a bit more clear for you.

      Also check this article, which goes more into detail about connecting the access points. And this one about PoE

  23. Hi Ruud
    thanks for your tutorial. very helpful. I have an existing unify network running with 2 UAP’s (both models AP LR). I want to extend the network with an additional UAP. Can I add in a AC LR, or does it have to be the same model as the other two devices (AP LR)?

  24. I am unable to get my Xbox One/One S to connect to the Wireless. All other devices, SmartTv and iPhones can connect.

    My setup is Edgerouter X and UAC-AC-Lite.

    I enabled UPnP2 on the edge router but still no dice.


  25. Hi Rudy,
    I have a very old HP Jetdirect print server device that absolutely refuses to connect to the NanoHD AP. It connects to my Peplink Max Transit AP with no problem but for other reasons that you’ve helped me with, I don’t want to leave the router AP on, so I’ve hardwired it. I would really like to have all devices on the NanoHD APs so that my clients are all showing up in the Unifi Controller. Are there little known secrets for getting legacy devices to connect to Unifi APs? Thanks.

    • I just had a similar issue with an old iphone 4. What ended up working for me was creating a second wireless network where i set the ‘Combine Name/SSID’ field to off, so there was a different ssid for the 2.4 and 5ghz networks. The iphone was able to connect to that.

  26. Thank you for sharing your insights.

    We have two UAP-AC-LR indoor and looking for the best option to extend outdoors (to ensure coverage on the terrasse) the wireless network. We have one constrain though – an Ethernet connection to neither the AP nor the router is possible. It is my understanding that adding a UAP-AC-PRO to the current setup (provided a wireless connection to one of the existing AP) could help us achieve the goal. Could you please confirm or maybe suggest a better alternative? Thank you.

  27. Great information
    How do I determine the highest controller software version I can install for older APs?
    AP LR
    AP Outdoor
    AP AC


  28. Thanks for the tutorial. I just connected my NanoHD and all is well, except..

    My main router is in my office in the far reaches of my house. The NanoHD is in the stairwell between the first and second floor of the house (this may change to 2 NanoHDs in the future.

    I would like to leave the Peplink AP on but I’m wondering the ramifications. Will a device carried from my office to my main house stay connected?

    Thank you!

  29. I’m at a total loss. Installer of our two UAP Lite is no longer with us. He left no instructions.

    Spectrum has installed a new modem and router. UAP Lite are connected to the router via POE modules. I think one is working – not sure, and the other is not working.

    I’m using an Apple MacBook Pro (Catalina – 64 bit). Finally figured out and installed Java 8. Installed UniFi Controller 5.12.35. Launched the controller at home (not where the UAP are at), and it requires that I create an account with UniFi. Why? I did not see in your instructions that an account has to be made. We have no intention of accessing the UAP remotely, only locally.

    Since these devices were already installed by someone else, we have no idea what the account credentials are, if any.

    Any ideas how to connect to the devices? Again why the need for a UniFi account?

    • Hi Steve,

      You will need to reset the access points if you don’t know the device admin accounts. Check this article for instructions.
      About the Unifi Account, you are correct, it isn’t mentioned in the article (I will get that sorted). But at step 2, you can click Switch to Advanced Setup and create a local account only.

  30. Hello,

    Thank you for these great articles you have written. I have been following them closely. Recently i thought i understood it well enough to update my home network. However, I am unable to get my ER-X- SFP to connect to the two UAP-AC-IW I purchased for it. They show as disconnected and when i try to assign them either DHCP or static IP address, I get an error that says:
    –Cannot configure address on switched interface–
    I have tried to reset the units to no avail.

    thank you,

    • Did you install the unifi controller to setup the access points? You should be able to leave the LAN interface on the EdgeRouter on DHCP, connect your switch to that (if you have one) and set a static IP address for the access points through the Unifi Controller.

      • Thank you for your time,

        I did install the Unifi Controller, but you gave me an idea because I was so focused on the Network Manager that I had forgotten about the controller. I noticed the Unifi Controller does not see the router. should I maybe not have installed the most recent version of the Controller.

      • UPDATE: So the mistake was mine. The UAP-AC-IW requires 48V input and the ER-X only has 24V output. Reading is fundamental

  31. Rudy, I have been searching for a long while for a site that makes setting up an area network for home use and yours has proved to be the best for simple easy to follow instructions. I feel ready to start again following your steps. I also agree with the final statement of disabling the wifi on the main router very poignant which i have not seen or heard before. Many thanks and keep up the great work especially in support of us less computer savvy minions!!

  32. hello
    we installed a mesh antenna unifi for outside and a ac pro of unifi.
    sometimes it gives 160mb and after a minute it gives 20 mb.
    what are we doing wrong because it goes up and down whit the speed

    • Nothing in the line of sight between the client device and antenna? try these settings for the channels:

      Channel width: HT20
      Channel: 1/6/11
      Choose one of these channels, an RF scan will help you choose the cleanest one.
      Channel width: VHT 80 MHz
      Channel: 36/44
      Power High

  33. At last somebody speaking in terms I can understand. Im new to this Ubiquiti thing ,just bought and installed an AC lite.Thought the wifi range would be stronger,as it says 400 feet in the blurb.So reading up on info and placement info. Thank you for being so informative in simple language,

  34. Hi Rudy, fantastic information on your page. I wish to fit 2 (or more) Ubiquiti NanoHD AP’s to a medium sized 2 storey house, both AP will be cabled back to the Router/Switch. I’ve been told I can just connect them thru the POE switch and they should mesh together automatically, allowing someone to walk from one level to another, and the device will automatically switch to the stronger AP’s? Is this correct and won’t need an USG security gateway or cloud key? Many thanks.

    • Yes, that is correct. USG isn’t needed for the Unifi access points. But the cloud key is recommended. It will work without it, you could also install the Unifi controller on your notebook just for the setup. Only keep in mind that you might need to lower the transmit power. Be default it’s on auto and that is not ideal.

      To make sure that your device roams to the strongest AC, you might need to set one on low.

  35. Hi Rudy,
    I have a AC-PRO connected to my router and now wish to install an OUTDOOR UAP-AC-M.
    The main reason is to get wifi extended outside my property with the same SSID names.
    Is it best to run the Lan cable back to the main router or is it the same if I connect it to the spare LAN port in the AC-PRO. Is there any difference and do I need to adjust the setting in the controller (channels etc..) to get the best performances from both units.
    And is it okay to mount the UAP-AC-M onto the pole of an existing Digital Tv Antenna or will it get interference?

    • You can connect the outdoor uap to the secondary port of the AC-Pro, only downside is that you won’t have PoE this way. You will have to check the signal strength, if you set it to high (or on auto) the change is that mobile devices will stay connected to indoor AC while the outdoor can give you a better performance.

      About the interference, that won’t be an issue.

  36. Hi Rudy, thanks to both your guides I now have installed both an ERX router and a Unify AP AC LR. Both work great, but… I have one problem.

    ERX provides a LAN and 2 VLAN’s. The AP gets IP address from LAN (e.g. but I want my computer with the Unify Controller installed to be in VLAN10 (e.g. with IP address When my computer is in the VLAN, the controller does not work (AP and controller can’t find each other? Heartbeat missed). By the way, when I connect my computer to the LAN, in order for AP and Controller to be in the same range, the controller does work.
    – Probably the easiest way to solve this is by adding the AP to the VLAN10. But I don’t think that is the cleanest option.
    – I read about L3 adoption but (a) did not really understand (b) don’t have working SSH access at the moment (c) don’t want to set back the AP to factory settings what according to the posts I found is necessary.
    – Adding the VLAN IP address to the field Unifi Controller in the DHCP settings in ERX also did not help.

    Would you have any recommendations? Should I open firewall settings between AP and computer with controller maybe? All good thoughts are welcome!

    • With VLANs you are separating the network, so it’s normal that you can’t access the controller in the LAN network from a device in VLAN10. I don’t have a guide about setting up vLAN yet, I will work on that coming weeks.

  37. I have 2 switches linked by fiber @500′ apart. Mostly one giant open room. Can I put an AC AP LR at each switch to keep good strength through the middle of the room? Will the installer take care of this? Any setting I should watch out for? Not for internet. AP only to talk to a lighting controller.

    • Yes, you can. The only setting you will have to play with it the transmit power per access point. By default it’s on auto, why is pretty much equal to high. Most of them you can better set it to medium or even low so devices roam quicker to the next access point.

  38. Thanks for the nice article. I have connected 3 nano hd’s to 3 netgear switches. The 3 ap’s show up in the unify controller wireless list. However they’re not visible in the wired list. Speedwise it would be better to have them connected wired I guess. Do you have any suggestions? Many thanks.

    • They are wireless devices, right? 😉

      If you look in the Unifi Controller and you go-to devices, you will see your access points (the wireless devices) in the wireless tab. And the wired devices (Unifi switches) in the wired tab. You will find your wireless clients in the clients tab.

  39. Hi Rudy,

    thank you for a great guide! I have a small issue and I’d like your opinion.
    I have 3 APs in the house (its a three story house, 1 AP in each floor). There are a couple of devices in the middle story that for some reason they don’t connect to the closest AP (around 5m distance, no walls), they prefer to connect to the other two APs where the signal is too weak.
    I have all the APs on their default settings.

    • This is a pretty common issue and easy to fix. If you left everything on default then the transmit power is set on auto for each access point. Auto is pretty much the same as high. Try setting it to low or medium for each access point

  40. Obrigado pelo tuorial.
    Eis a questao: tenho a controladora instalada em meu server, e gostaria de adotar unifis em um evento, cujo site está distante da minha controladora, na verdade 15 km, onde eu tenho um link direto via fibra.
    eu sei que funciona, pois ja testei com 1 unifi, mas nao sei se em alta densidade de clientes ficará bom devido a distancia do server com o site,
    PS: a duvida é quanto a distancia do server. pois a relacao unifi X Clientes tenho ja certo conhecimento

    • I had to pull your comment through the Google translate, but if I understand your question correctly, your controller is 15km away, connected with a fiber connection to the event site.
      The distance won’t be any issue for the clients or the speed.

  41. I need to install two Unifi LR APs one is in the front office of a warehouse and the other is at the dock at the back of the warehouse. How do I set them up to where if someone walks to the back with there laptop or tablet they still maintain wifi access or switch automatically between the front and back AP? This distance between them is about 1000 feet.

    • 1000 feet is a pretty long distance to cover with two LR accesspoints.

      But if they have enough clear line of sight it maybe possible.

      To controller will take care of it. Just get an cloudkey and to control your accesspoints.

      • Hi,
        Very informative article. I have bought the Pro model. It hasn’t arrived yet but I have a question – you said that we should disable the wifi on the old router. Can I keep the wifi network that exists (the router is on 1st floor of the house) and use the AP to create another (same name or different?) wifi network in the 2nd floor?

        • You could create a new wifi network on the second floor, but your devices will have to switch between the access points which will result in a short connection lost. It’s not the ideal situation to have.

  42. I have seldom come across such a well written article. Most I.T. professionals have technical skills, but their writing skills leave much to be desired. Well done Ruud. Thanks for clear and precise instructions.

  43. hi. Thanks for your great posts. I am getting enthusiastic to start my own Unify project.

    Do you have any views on the Unify NanoHD access point? The technical specs to me seem better than the three you compared here, but I read some reviews on new chipsets / not yet mature firmware?

    • You will only benefit from the Unifi NanoHD speed if you have a lot of users or transfer a lot of data. The multiple MIMO antenna will process data faster from a client. The MU-MIMO works only for 5Ghz clients, and the client itself also needs to support MU-MIMO (which most clients don’t support)

      You can better spend your money on one LR for the ground floor and add AC-lite’s where necessary (upstairs for example)

  44. Hi Ruud,
    Thank you for your clear instructions.
    I have an Edgerouter X and 4 Ubiquity AC-Pro’s, one on each floor of my house in Rotterdam.
    all devices have latest firmware. 3 AP’s are on an HP switch, one is directly connected to the EdgeRouter X.

    Still I have a very unreliable WIFI in the house. Sometimes devices cannot connect even if they are only a few meters from an AP. I tried to put all AP’s on different channels, but that only seems worse. so back to Auto channel configuration, but no improvement.

    I wonder what I did wrong. Do you know if there is an instruction how to configure multiple AP’s? It drives me nuts that I have spent quite some money on this, and still my network shows horrible performance.


    • Hi Eira,

      Try lowering the transmit power to low. Open the controller and for each device, go to settings > open radios and set the transmit power to low. If you have multiple access points to close to each other the change is that your device will try to connect (or keep being connected) to an access point further away.

      By setting the transmit power to low you will improve the roaming of the clients.

      Let me know if it helped or not.

      • Hi Ruud,
        unfortunately it did not make any difference.
        I have two vlans configured in the Edgerouter (2001 and 2002). In UniFi I used these for a guest and a tenant wifi. The last one should only be accessable on the Basement AP, which is directly connected to the ERX.
        I could not connect to these wifi networks (using samsung galaxy S9+ to test) so I disabled them in Unifi. Still, getting connected to the Basement AP is not possible on the main WIFI network (not a vlan). on other AP’s the S9+ is connected, but every few minutes it seems to disconnect and not to reconnect again, only manually.

        I may completely reset all devices to their factory settings and start all over again, but I am not sure if that wil resolve anything?


        • wWell, in this case, I would indeed start over. It’s hard to tell what went wrong. Leave the ERX as it is, the problem is most likely in the access point configuration. Reset the Unifi Controller and the access points. Start with one access point, set up the network to your liking and test it. If it’s stable and working as it should, add another access point. Test it again to be sure. That’s the best way to find any potential problems.

  45. I have four UAP-AC-IW deployed in our office and setup with the Unifi Controller. Wireless access to the outside world works great. All wireless devices can see one another. However, wireless devices cannot see wired devices on our network.

    We have an existing SonicWall router that we need to continue using. Is this a setting issue with the way I setup the access points using the controller, or is it an issue with our router settings?

  46. Hi
    I bought an AUS RT-AC88U router a year ago and although good, I wasn’t getting full Wifi signal strength in more distant parts of my house. So I bought an Unifi AP-AC Pro. I saw your web tutorial afterwards and so perhaps should have bought the lite version. Anyway, I have got it all working (many thanks to your tutorial) and have added one device to see how it goes – being my Samsung S10plus mobile phone. So a good (ie latest version) mobile phone. I have tested the wifi strength of both the AC Pro and the Asus router and the router has better strength. I was surprised at that. I did apply bandwidth steering to 5G for the mobile phone. Any ideas why the AC Pro would not be as good as the ASUS router’s wifi abilities?

    • Hi Andrew,

      Really hard to say from here. Are both devices place at the same location? Unifi Acces Points are based placed on the ceiling, instead of mounted to a wall. That could make a difference. Apart from the device, if there is a 20cm concrete wall between the access point and the measured location, then no access point will be able to give you a good wifi strength.

      What you can do is draw your floorplan in the map tool from the Unifi Controller and then find the best place for the best coverage in your house.

  47. Hi I´m having some problems with my unifi setup, I have an 4 port poe switch but 5 AP´s and an cloud key, so i got an poe Injector (adapter) for the 5th AP, but the 5th AP always comes up as “isolated” could that be fixed by setting up the 5th AP without the cloud key?
    basically just connect it to the router and set it up as i would not have an cloud key?

    • I guess you already tried resetting the access point? Isolated mode occurs when the access point can’t reach the controller. This can happen due to a multiple of reasons, like incorrect DNS or Gateway settings or even a faulty cable. Try switching the AC’s to rule out the faulty cable. DNS and Gateway should come from your router, you can compare the setting in the controller with the other access points.

      If that doesn’t solve it, how is the AC connected, the same switch just with PoE? Or another switch?

  48. Does the access point project my network if I don’t do anything other than plug it in to my lan (through the POE)? In other words, can I use it to function essentially as an extender without any configuration?

  49. what if you want to run these through a Netgear switch? do you have to have a unifi controller or can you set them to work through a simple switch?

    • Well to controller the access point you will need the Unifi Controller. You can run them through a netgear switch, that won’t be a problem, as long as they can get power (with the PoE adapter or with the netgear switch)

  50. Hello,

    I have a problem discovering the APs, I mean I connect them properly to the PoE switch, and the configuration on the switch is also the rigth one to reach the Controller. The Aps have being reset to factory values, but the system doesn´t recongnize them.

  51. I’ve set up three APs with one SSID + Guest, all three APs are one different channels 1, 6 and 11.
    But for some reason, most of our clients can’t connect to APs. Or even if they connect, then there is no internet connection for them.

    • You shouldn’t have to worry about the channels, just leave in on auto and the Unifi controller will work it out. But that isn’t your real problem. When a device connects to and wireless network but can’t access the internet and a few thing can be the issue:

      – Using the wrong password, some device will show a connected status, but can’t access the internet
      – Check your IP addresses. They should be in the same range as your router. (plug a cable in your router, check your Ip, connect to your wifi and check again)
      – Reset the controller, connect one AP, setup your network and when everything works, add the other AP’s

  52. I continually get a certificate error message in both IE and Chrome when I try to load the controller. What’s the fix for this issue? I have changed firewall and antivirus settings as noted, but still no go.

    • You should be able to click Advanced and then at the bottom of the page on Continue to ….. (unsafe)
      The problem is that the Unifi Controller doesn’t have a valid certificate. There is a way to create one, I will write a tutorial for it later. (Subscribe to the newsletter to get notified about)

  53. This article is very important especially to the first time users. I find the parting shot very interesting.. Where the author says you have to disable the wifi on the primary router..

  54. This is a very useful article, but I have one (stupid) question. The first AP plugs into the Router, so given that the AP only has one RJ45 socket, how is it wired? Is there an ethernet cable from the PoE adaptor to the AP, and another from the PoE adaptor to the Router?

Leave a Comment