UniFi - Getting Started FAQ


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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have a full UniFi topology with a UniFi Security Gateway, UniFi Switch, and UniFi Access Point or can I use a third-party device?

No, you do not need the full UniFi topology in order to use the UniFi Controller. Just keep in mind that when you use third-party devices, you not only lose the centralized management system that the Controller provides, you will also be missing features that are available to configure in the Controller. See the Feature Matrix in our basic setup article. A typical topology might look like this: beginner2.png 

What is the difference between UniFi AP models?

UAP models might have different radio rates, number of ports, number of concurrently connected clients, among others. To see any devices' full characteristics list, go to their Data Sheet or Quick Start Guide, in the Specifications section. These documents will always be found at the bottom of the product page, which can be accessed when navigating from the UBNT Products page. They can also be downloaded from UBNT Downloads.  See our UniFi - Access Point Comparison Charts article for a consolidated view.

How many access points will I need to cover my home

Users have reported needing only one UAP for average-sized homes, but of course, all homes will have different needs depending on size, building material, wall distribution, number of floors, environment, among others. Use the comparison charts for UAPs and the device's Data Sheets to select an AP that is enough to meet your needs. Start with the minimum number, you can always add another if necessary. The UniFi Controller allows for easy adoption and scalability. Once you have your UAP(s) connected, you can study your network’s Map in the UniFi Controller and identify any areas that might need an extra access point. Find information about the Map feature and how to use it in the UniFi User Guide, Chapter 6: Map.

Where is the UniFi Controller hosted? Do I need to pay for a Cloud solution?

All our software is free, as well as all upgrades. You do not need to pay if you host the UniFi Controller software yourself. We do offer some paid hosting and support service options, and you can read about those here: UniFi - UniFi Cloud & UniFi Elite Summary. If you decide to go the self-hosting route, the Controller can be hosted on any of the following:
  • A local UniFi Cloud Key (a low-power dedicated network device)
  • A local server running Linux, macOS 10.11 (or above), or Microsoft Windows 7/8/10
  • A remote server running Linux, Mac OS X 10.11 (or above), or Microsoft Windows 7/8/10

Only one instance of the UniFi Controller is required, even for multiple sites. For example, use either the UniFi Cloud Key or a local server, not both. A UniFi Cloud Key can be used as a remote controller. If you have a number of branch offices/teleworkers that each requires UniFi devices then Layer-3 adoption is required. For more on Layer-3 adoption, see this article: UniFi - Device Adoption Methods for Remote UniFi Controllers. 

What is Hybrid Cloud?

A hybrid cloud deployment allows for a mixture of on-premise and cloud hosted controller deployments. Being able to administrate networks from offsite using the UniFi Cloud Access Portal allows users to manage UniFi networks from any location with an internet connection. For reference on how to enable cloud access on controllers please see this article.

I have my UniFi devices and I'm ready to go. Where do I start?

Follow the Quick Start Guide that came with your device to set up the hardware as well as the UniFi Controller software. You can also find the QSGs in our Downloads page, using the left hand menu to navigate to your device model and then to the Documentation section. The next step will be to get familiar with the Controller. The UniFi User Guide has all the information you need to get up and running and to perform your first configurations. This basic, first setup article might also be helpful.


If you run into any issues remember you can search our Help Center for help articles, you can reach out to all the user experts in the Community or you can open up a ticket with UBNT Support.

Do I need to install and host software (UniFi Controller) to use UniFi? I just want to plug my UAPs and enjoy my WiFi.

No, not necessarily. If you only want to set up one or a few UniFi Access Points (UAP's) and don't want to install (and host) the UniFi Controller, you could use the UniFi mobile app's Standalone mode. You'll find the UniFi app for Android and iOS, available for free on the App Store and Google Play. With the Standalone mode you will not need to install the UniFi Controller and have it running on a server, computer, Cloud Key or UniFi Application Server. The downside is you will not be able to take advantage of all the (free!) features included in the Controller. You can read all about Standalone Mode here

My password isn't working. What is the default username and password for UniFi devices?

The UniFi products in their factory-default state can have two possible default username / password combinations, remember both password and username are case-sensitive:

Username: root

Password: ubnt

Username: ubnt

Password: ubnt

It is important to note that there are several different sets of credentials you will create when using UniFi. Do not confuse the UniFi Device Authentication credentials with the UniFi Cloud Access Portal credentials, the UniFi Controller credentials or the UniFi Cloud Key and SSH credentials. Read more about that here.

What Java / JRE version should I be using?

NOTE: Currently, Java version 9 is incompatible with the UniFi Controller. We are working towards this compatibility.

UniFi 5.8.2 Stable Release: Only Java 8 is supported. Java 9 is not yet supported.

UniFi 5.7.23 Previous Stable Release: As of 5.7.x, we only support Java 8, which is the current LTS (Long-Term Support) release as designated by Oracle, this version is recommended for all controller deployments.

Related Articles

Back to Top

UniFi - Setting Up UniFi for Beginners

UniFi - Access Point Comparison Charts 

UniFi - UniFi Cloud & UniFi Elite Summary

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