UniFi Network - Optimizing WiFi Connectivity and Reducing Latency

This article explains the best practices for reducing wireless latency (i.e., video buffering and prolonged loading times) and wireless disconnections. Often times, degraded wireless connectivity is a result of physical AP placement, environmental interference, or poor manual configurations. As you follow the steps in this article, keep in mind that improving connection quality will often result in lower maximum throughputs.

If you are looking for information to improve your wireless speeds, click here.

If you are having trouble getting clients to connect to WiFi in general, click here.

Basic Optimization

Begin by following these steps:

  1. Set each AP's channel width to 20 MHz for the 2.4 GHz radio and 40 MHz for the 5 GHz radio. 
    • Globally configured in the Radios tab, by selecting one or more WiFi bands and choosing your preferred channel width in the Edit Radios panel. These changes will not be applied to any AP Exclusions listed.
    • Individually configured in UniFi Devices > select an AP > Settings.
  2. Perform a radio-frequency (RF) scan of your environment in UniFi Devices > select an AP > Insights > Scan Channels
  3. Pick the channel with minimal interference for each AP's 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios. This means selecting the highest magnitude numbers (e.g., -90 dBm is preferred to -80 dBm).
    • If interference levels are similar, prioritize picking the channel with the least utilization.
    • When configuring the 2.4 GHz radio, only select from channels 1, 6, and 11
    • Ensure that nearby APs are using different channels, when possible. 
  4. Set your WiFi's Advanced Settings to Auto in Settings > WiFi > select WiFi. These were optimized to ensure maximum wireless stability.
  5. Try replacing the cable that connects your AP to your network. These can degrade over time and limit maximum bandwidth.
  6. Update all UniFi APs to the latest version.
  7. Update the WiFi driver on affected clients. These can often be found on the manufacturer's website.
  8. Ensure the AP is placed in an open area with minimal obstructions.

Advanced 

If you are still experiencing problems with WiFi connectivity, follow these steps:

  1. Note the wireless clients that are experiencing poor connectivity. If connectivity issues are unique to one device make/model, then contact Ubiquiti Support.
  2. Check your wireless client's signal strength in UniFi Network > Radios > Coverage. Each client should have a minimum signal strength of -70 dBm, though -65 dBm or better (e.g., lower magnitude) is recommended. If not, consider the following:
    • Move clients closer to the nearest AP.
    • Add additional APs to expand WiFi coverage
    • Change Transmission Power to Auto. This is globally configured in Radios > [Select All] > Edit Radios, or individually configured in UniFi Devices > select an AP > Settings
  3. Go to UniFi Network > Radios > Coverage to see if any affected client is connected to the 2.4 GHz band. 
    • If a device support 5 GHz but still connects to 2.4 GHz, move the device closer to the nearest AP or add an additional AP to expand WiFi coverage.
    • If the device does not support 5 GHz, consider upgrading to one that does. The 2.4 GHz band is crowded and known for poor connectivity.
  4. Minimize the use of wireless meshing between APs when possible.
    • Although it is a convenient way to extend WiFi coverage, it is much more susceptible to high interference and each "wireless hop" results in at least 50% reduced throughput.
    • If you must use meshing, ensure APs are connected at a signal strength of -60 dBm or better. Click here to learn more about optimal WiFi mesh considerations.
  5. Conduct a WiFi site survey to ensure that there is optimal WiFi coverage in all locations. 
    • If you have a UniFi Gateway or UniFi Cloud Gateway, you can use the WiFiman Mobile app (iOS / Android) to measure signal strength and latency as you walk around your environment.
    • If you do not have a UniFi Gateway, do not know how to perform a survey, or do not know how to interpret the results of your survey, we recommend contacting a WiFi surveyor.
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