This article guides the user on how to initially set up a new UniFi network including a UniFi Access Point (UAP), UniFi Switch (USW), UniFi Security Gateway (USG) and UniFi Cloud Key (UC-CK). It will cover the initial hardware connection to the moment a working wireless network is created. The UniFi User Guide and device Quick Start Guides will be referenced throughout the article. These documents can be downloaded from Ubiquiti Downloads. Find the correct docs by selecting the product line from the top bar and then the specific product model from the left hand menu. The docs will be under the Documentation header. The User Guide is particularly useful to install and get familiar with the UniFi Network Controller and its different sections and features.
NOTES & REQUIREMENTS:
Although this guide will describe a setup that includes a USG, USW, UAP and Cloud Key, there will be a modified connection option described below if you do not have a USG and a Switch. However, if you are only connecting one or a few UAPs and aren't interested in using the UniFi Network Controller to manage your network, the mobile Standalone mode is a quick and easy solution. Read more about it here.
Table of Contents
- Introduction and Feature Matrix
- Connecting the Hardware
- Installing the UniFi Network Controller Software
- Next Steps
- Related Articles
It is not mandatory to have the full UniFi topology in order to use the UniFi Network Controller. However, keep in mind that when you use third-party devices, you will not be able to manage them with the UniFi Network Controller. Most importantly, you will not be able to use features that are available to configure in the UniFi Network Controller. See the Feature Matrix below to see what features are provided by each type of UniFi device.
The UniFi Dream Machine now provides an all-in-one solution setup which includes access point, security gateway, switch and Cloud Key capabilities. To set up a new UDM, please follow the UDM Quick Start Guide.
The Feature Matrix below does not contain all articles for the features discussed, please take a look at the UniFi help center category to browse all articles.
UniFi Feature Matrix
- Comes bundled with the UniFi Network Controller, easy plug and play setup.
- Hosts the Controller.
- Replaces a dedicated server or computer.
- Traffic & Client Statistics
- Client Rate Limiting
- MAC Filtering
- RADIUS MAC Authentication
- Captive Portal (the UniFi Network Controller must be running)
- Guest Access Control
- Intrusion Detection and Prevention System
- Smart Queues QoS
- Deep Packet Inspection
- DHCP server
- PPPoE/DHCP/Static IP on WAN
- DNS Forwarding
- Dynamic DNS
- L2TP VPN
- Site-to-site VPN (Manual IPsec and OpenVPN)
- RADIUS Server
- Comes bundled with the UniFi Network Controller, easy plug and play setup.
For this article you will need the following items in addition to the elements included in the UniFi product boxes:
- Four ethernet cables.
- A computer with an ethernet port.
- Your existing ISP router or broadband modem with one available LAN port. If you are not using a switch, you will need an existing router with three available LAN ports.
Connect the Hardware
1. Read the Quick Start Guides (QSG) included in the box with your devices to get familiar with the ports, powering options and setup of each one.
2. Power the USG and the USW with the included power adapters.
3. Plug an ethernet cable from your broadband modem or existing ISP router to the WAN port of the USG.
4. Plug an ethernet cable from the LAN port on the USG to Port 1 on the USW.
5. Use another ethernet cable to plug in the UAP into one of the USW's available power over ethernet (PoE) ports. Check the USW's QSG to determine which ports offer PoE.
NOTE: Some UAP's have more than one port, use the port labeled "Main".
6. Plug in the UC-CK into one of the USW's available power over ethernet (PoE) port using the short ethernet cable provided in the box.
7. Plug an ethernet cable from your computer to an available port on the USW.
The following diagram exemplifies how it should all connect together before you begin the UniFi Network Controller software installation. If you do not have a USG or USW, you would connect the UAP, Cloud Key and Computer to your existing router's LAN ports (your router would have to have at least three LAN ports available). If you are only connecting one or a few UAPs, the mobile Standalone mode is a quick and easy solution, read more about it here.
Installing the UniFi Network Controller Software
1. Go to the UniFi Cloud Access Portal and log in using this Ubiquiti Account. If you do not have an account yet, create one now by clicking Create account, then return to the UniFi Cloud Access Portal and sign in. This Single Sign-On (SSO) account and password will be your credentials for the UI Community, the UI Store, and the UniFi Cloud Access Portal. Use Google Chrome as your web browser, as other browsers may have limited functionality.
NOTE: Your existing router or broadband modem must have a DHCP server in order for the Cloud Key to have an IP Address and for the adoption to take place. If you are not able to launch the Setup Wizard, it may be that you do not have DHCP on WAN. Click the header below to see alternate steps to locally configure your USG so it will provide the DHCP server to continue. Otherwise, proceed to step 2.
2. Follow the instructions in the UniFi User Guide, Chapter 2: UniFi Cloud, the UniFi Cloud Key section to find and adopt the Cloud Key using the Ubiquiti Device Discovery tool and then run the UniFi Setup Wizard. Ubiquiti Device Discovery Tool
User Tip: During the Setup Wizard, take note of the second and third set of credentials you will create. The Admin Name and Password are the credentials for this specific UniFi Network Controller you are setting up. You will also have the option of selecting a different set of credentials for SSH access or using the same Controller Admin Name and Password.
You might get a warning message stating "Your connection is not private". Click Advanced and then click on Proceed to (your IP) at the bottom of the message to safely continue to the next page.
3. During the Setup Wizard you will be asked to select your country and timezone, this table might help finding your correct timezone.
4. After you have completed the Setup Wizard you will be prompted to login with your Cloud Credentials. This is your SSO account, created in step 1. Fill in the information and click Enable Cloud Access.
5. The UniFi Network Controller login screen will appear. Here you will input the Admin name and password you created during the Setup Wizard.
6. Under the Devices tab you will see the devices you adopted during the Setup Wizard.
User Tip: You can give all devices an Alias to help identify them on the Devices list by clicking on them to open the Properties panel. Go to Config > General and set an Alias.
7. If you go to Settings > Wireless Networks you will see the network you created during the Setup Wizard. You should also see them under your computer's available WiFi networks (you might need to refresh your computer's WiFi networks). Just connect to one of them and you're set! You can now disconnect your computer from the Ethernet cable.
Now that you have a working network, you can start configuring to your liking. These are a few of our suggestions:
- UniFi - How To Use a Free Email Service as SMTP Server (Gmail): set a SMTP server. This must be done in order for the password reset (FORGOT PASSWORD?) to work. If this is not configured successfully and you lose your password, you will be locked out of your account.
- UniFi - Wireless Guest Network Setup: if you want to set up a guest network this article provides the steps for it as well as showing how to customize the portal so it looks great for your guests.