UniFi - How-to: UniFi Device Adoption


This article will explain how to adopt UniFi Devices to a local UniFi Network controller. 

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Methods to Adopt a UniFi Device
  3. Requirements
  4. Instructions
  5. How Device Adoption Works
  6. Related Articles


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You may have purchased a UniFi device, opened up the package and thought- “Now what?” The only step required before you can manage and configure your UniFi devices is adopting them to a working UniFi network controller. UniFi Device adoption is the critical step that allows you to enjoy the features your devices offer.

This article will explain how to adopt your UniFi device(s) to a local controller.

Methods to Adopt a UniFi Device

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Device adoption can take place in the following ways:

This article will explain how to do device adoption via the local controller- use the links above to access steps for the other adoption methods.


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In order to adopt your UniFi device you must meet the following requirements:

  • Install the UniFi Network Controller software and make sure it is running with the current stable version. Download the software here.
  • Your controller must be running on a machine connected locally to your UniFi devices- recommended connected via a wired connection. See the following example (Note that a Cloud Key is not required, any UniFi Controller could replace the Cloud Key in the image below):


  • Your controller and devices must be able to send and receive traffic over the following ports: https://help.ubnt.com/hc/en-us/articles/218506997-UniFi-Ports-Used 
  • Your device needs to be connected to be powered, in default state, as indicated by static white LED.
  • Only if adopting UniFi Security Gateway - Verify that the default LAN network in Settings > Networks, does not conflict with the network to which your USG’s WAN interface will be connected. If your USG will be given a DHCP address on the default 192.168.1.x subnet, make sure to change the subnet of LAN network in controller settings to a different subnet, for instance: change to, then “Update DHCP Scope” prior to adopting the USG. As an alternative, we recommend in these cases that if possible the upstream router be put in Bridge Mode as to limit potential complications.


Instructions: Adopting UniFi Devices

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After all the above requirements are met, you’re ready to proceed with adopting your UniFi Devices. You can perform these steps from either a device connected to the same local network as your controller and devices, or from the controller itself if this is a software installation on a supported workstation.

  • Launch the UniFi Controller through your web browser (Note: Google Chrome is recommended)
  • Click on the Devices tab
  • You should now see all locally connected devices in default state, as pending adoption
    • If you do not, you will need to look at why your controller is unable to discover these devices.
  • If your device displays the action Upgrade, your device is in need of a firmware update. Click this before adopting and allow your UniFi device to update to the most current device firmware. Once finished, proceed to the next step.


  • Click Adopt to adopt the device. (Note can take a few minutes to complete)
  • You should see the status of your UniFi Device change from “Pending Adoption” to “Adopting” as the device is connected to, and given the command to reach out to the controller for adoption.
  • Once a connection between device and controller has been successfully established, the status will change to “Provisioning”, This indicates the controller is pushing configuration to the device.
  • After this has been completed, the status will return “Connected”.


Once you see your device as connected, this indicates your device has been configured with the default site configuration. If you still need to make configurations like adding an SSID for the AP to broadcast, or changing VLANs, all this can be done through the controller. Any changes made to site-wide configuration will cause the devices to re-provision. This means after adoption all devices will be automatically kept up to date with configuration changes.

After you’ve completed these steps, you should be done adopting your UniFi devices. If you wish to learn more about how this adoption works we’ve included a detailed explanation of the adoption process below, as well as a link to an article where you can get help troubleshooting/resolving any UniFi adoption issues you may encounter.

How Device Adoption Works

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When you plug in a UniFi device like a UniFi Access Point or a UniFi Switch, the UniFi device will boot up and eventually show a static white LED. This white LED indicates that the device is not currently managed by a UniFi controller and ready to be adopted by a UniFi controller. When the device is in this state it makes itself available for discovery and adoption.

When using the UniFI controller, the Device Discovery tool scans the local network for any UniFi device. All UniFi devices, if detected show up with a status of either Managed or Pending Adoption. Devices with a white LED should show up as Pending Adoption within the UniFi controller, while other devices that have a Blue LED should show up as “Online” if managed by this controller, or “Managed by Other” if still adopted and managed by a different controller.

When the administrator clicks adopt, the adoption request is sent to the AP over port 22, using SSH to authenticate the default credentials (ubnt/ubnt) and issue the inform command. The AP then executes the set-inform command and sends the inform packet to the URL provided by the UniFi controller- and sends it over port 8080.

The device, if successful in adopting will start provisioning and be configured to match the controller’s configured wireless networks or other settings. Once it is finished the device will show as connected in the controller.

Most often when there are issues with the adoption process it is because something in the environment obstructs the above process from completing. Understanding where the device stops working can help pinpoint the issue and make it easier to resolve the issue.

Related Articles

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