How to Set Up UniFi

2023-06-10 07:23:51 UTC

UniFi OS is pre-installed on UniFi Consoles, streamlining the setup process so you can get your network up and running quickly. Other cases (like self-hosting the UniFi Network server or running standalone Access Points) are possible, but miss out on key features that only a Console can provide. For those options, see more information further down the page.

For a preliminary overview of UniFi, device adoption, remote management, and more, please see our Introduction to UniFi.

We recommend setting up UniFi on a UniFi Console for the best experience. If you do not have a Console, you may have to take a different approach to setup.

Have You Purchased a UniFi Console?

Our lineup of UniFi Consoles are built to run UniFi OS and come preinstalled with all UniFi Applications. This includes the Dream Machine, Dream Router and Cloud Key G2+.

With a UniFi Console, it's easy to automatically establish backups, update hardware and software, and ensure maximum compatibility by minimizing third-party inter-operation.

Set Up a Console

With the Mobile App (Recommended)
  1. Download the UniFi Mobile App (iOS / Android).
  2. Connect your mobile device to your UniFi Console via WiFi or Bluetooth. Remain within 3 meters (10 feet) if using Bluetooth.
  3. Follow the setup wizard to complete the process.
    • Though optional, we strongly recommend creating a UI Account, which gives you access to features like:
      • Secure management from anywhere in the world using our UniFi Web Portal, or one of our UniFi Mobile Apps
      • Automatic system backups linked to your UI Account
      • Early Access product and software availability
      • Pre-configured email notifications for convenient system monitoring
  4. Once complete, you can proceed with adopting UniFi devices such as APs, switches, and cameras.
With the Web Application
  1. Connect a laptop to your UniFi Console by joining the same WiFi, or using an ethernet cable.
  2. Open your internet browser and enter your UniFi Console's IP address. This can be found on the console's LCD screen, or by using the network scanner in our WiFiman Mobile App (iOS / Android). See Sign In to UniFi for more information.
    Note: By default, UniFi OS gateways will have the IP address: 
  3. You may receive a privacy or security warning, which is normal. Select to proceed anyway.
  4. Follow the setup wizard to complete the process.
  5. Once complete, you can proceed with adopting UniFi devices such as APs, switches, and cameras.

Do You Have an Access Point Without a Console?

Many customers purchase our best-in-class Access Points to set up as Standalone APs without a console.

In this case, AP management is done entirely through the UniFi Mobile app, which misses out on key features like seamless roaming, wireless meshing and multi-network control. Additionally, these can only be configured while connected to the network.

For information on Standalone Access Points, check out our article here.

Do You Plan to Host a Server Yourself?

UniFi can also be self-hosted on a Windows/macOS/Linux machine, but this is only recommended for users proficient with network administration, because it requires constant and precise attention. You’ll need to manually configure your network for sufficient communication between UniFi Network and all of your networking devices. Success hinges on your ability to continuously navigate various third-party software, firewalls and other networking devices.

For information on Self-Hosting, check out our article here.

Common Troubleshooting

Our setup flow is designed to be as seamless as possible. However, some circumstances, often related to external network configurations, may cause setup failures.

Consider the following if you are experiencing setup issues:

Check Your Physical Connections

Ensure that your power and network connections are secure. If they are, but your issue persists, we recommend using our UniFi cables for optimal compatibility and performance.

Verify Your UniFi Console's Internet Connection

UniFi Gateway Consoles (UniFi Consoles such as our Dream products, which contain an integrated security gateway) are usually connected directly to the internet. However, non-gateway consoles, such as the Cloud Key Gen2 Plus, can be incorrectly placed on a network or VLAN with restricted internet access. Please ensure this isn’t the case for your consoles.

Update to the Latest Version of UniFi OS

For the best setup experience, we recommend updating to the latest version and ensuring that automatic updates are enabled.

Open All Required Ports

Third-party gateways, firewalls, and Internet Service Provider (ISP) modems occasionally block traffic required for set up. Some of these include:

  • TCP & UDP Port 443
  • TCP Port 8883
  • TCP & UDP Port 53
  • UDP Port 123
  • TCP Port 3478 

See Required Port Reference for a complete listing of all requisite ports. You may wish to contact your ISP to ensure none of these are being blocked. We also recommend disabling any third-party firewalls.

Clone Your ISP Router or Modem’s MAC Address

Some ISPs restrict connectivity to certain MAC addresses. You may need to clone your modem or router’s MAC address in order to set up your UniFi Console. We recommend contacting your ISP first to confirm whether or not this is necessary.

Contact Your ISP

If you’ve tried all of the tips above but are still having setup issues, please contact your ISP to ensure that they have not restricted your UniFi Console's connectivity.

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