UniFi - Troubleshooting Client-Specific Connectivity Issues


Overview


This article will provide suggestions for troubleshooting and resolving issues when it has been determined that only specific devices are unable to connect to Wi-Fi. 


Table of Contents


  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding Device Compatibility
  3. Tips/Suggestions
  4. Related Articles

Introduction


In some cases, users may encounter issues with certain client devices being unable to connect to Wi-Fi or have specific performance issues. For example, Android phones not connecting to the UniFi network or only iOS devices frequently disconnecting. 

To most quickly identify and resolve these issues, administrators need to identify the common threads/scope of the issue and use that knowledge to narrow down the root cause. This article will explain how to approach issues like these and list some common causes. 


Understanding Device Compatibility


When a client device connects or fails to connect to a UniFi network, the process on the UniFi side is relatively simple and straightforward. This doesn't change for each individual type and variety of client. UniFi has millions of APs in deployment that work with all manner of client devices without issue. Additionally, UniFi does performance tests on hardware with a variety of client devices to ensure proper function. 

Outside of UniFi, there are many variables involved with all the different devices, network drivers, wireless adapters, etc. that often go unnoticed/aren't frequently considered. In most cases, issues assumed to be UniFi issues that are confined to a segment of client devices result in being unrelated to UniFi. However in some cases, you can change your UniFi configuration to help adapt your network to the limitations of your devices. For instance, fast roaming may not work well with all client devices depending on how old they are, how these products roam by default, etc.

In order to reach the root case, ask yourself what each instance has in common. Here are some good questions to ask when encountering such issues: 

  • How many devices are affected? All of them? Or only some of them?
  • What do these devices have in common? Location? Type of device? Operating System (OS) version? Manufacturer?
  • When did the issue start occurring? 
  • Does it occur in all cases or is it intermittent? Is the issue consistently reproducible? 
  • Is there an error message? 

Many users mistakenly attribute any issue they encounter on a Wi-Fi network to the hardware connecting the devices or the internet service provider. However, using proper troubleshooting and not assuming a particular explanation will help you resolve issues in a more efficient way.


Tips/Suggestions


Here are some suggestions for resolving client-specific issues with Wi-Fi: 

  • Verify user-reported issues yourself. Most often the cause for individual client Wi-Fi issues that are unreproducible by others is user error with WPA key entry or similar issues.
  • Make sure client device has high signal strength at the time of testing to eliminate interference from the equation if at all possible. 
  • Reboot client devices first when a small number of individual client devices are affected.
  • Try updating wireless adapter drivers on client devices when a subset of devices with same wireless adapter are malfunctioning, or in individual cases. 
  • Once you've arrived at an understanding of what the behavior is and confirmed it, perform a web search for similar error messages/behaviors from similar client devices. For example, if you have noticed that all Android devices are affected, you will certainly find mention of this issue in threads unrelated to UniFi. Follow steps and contact the device manufacturer for help (in this example, Android Support).
  • In individual cases where an issue proves difficult to resolve, scan the device for any malware that could be causing connectivity issues.
  • Try eliminating any advanced features like RADIUS or fast roaming from your UniFi Configuration to ensure that they haven't been improperly configured or that your devices do not support such configurations. Set up a parallel, test Wi-Fi network with no modifications to see if the issue is eliminated.
  • Use packet captures to monitor traffic to help identify root causes.
  • Search on community.ui.com for similar issues and if you find none, create a new topic asking for suggestions.

If after reading this article you have reached the conclusion that the issue does affect all your client devices then it's more likely to be an issue on the UniFi side, possibly an error in configuration. Please post on our community or contact UniFi support for additional help by clicking the Help link in the top bar. 


Related Articles


UniFi - Troubleshooting Slow Wi-Fi Speeds

UniFi - Identifying Wi-Fi Issues with Debugging Metrics

UniFi - Troubleshooting Connectivity Issues

UniFi - airTime: What's Eating your Wi-Fi Performance?


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