We are now at the half-way point of our configuration. By now, you now have a solid understanding of how the Ubiquiti UniFi Controller works. From here on out, we will be taking a look at the settings for the controller itself.
These are the basic settings for our controller. You will find an “About” section describing the version of the controller’s UI and backend system. Also, a build number is specified so that you’re able to locate the appropriate update file manually, if needed. For legal reasons, an address is displayed for Ubiquiti. The “Controller Settings” consists of the following:
- Controller Name – The primary name of your controller. Name it however you like. Has no effect on stability.
- Controller Hostname/IP – The address for your controller to be accessible. By default, it should already be defined as an LAN address. If your controller is hosted on an computer connected directly to the internet, you should see an IP address assigned by your ISP. For dynamic IPs, dynamic DNS service is preferred.
- Override inform host with controller hostname/IP – Your UniFi access points will phone home to the controller with a different address, instead of one defined by default. This allows for easy provisioning to a different controller.
- Make controller discoverable on L2 network – Your controller can be discovered in the same manner as local Windows PCs can without the use of an DNS server. This one is optional.
- Store – Allows users to navigate the Ubiquiti store through the controller interface. Optional.
- Support Messaging – Allows users to contact Ubiquiti through live chat. This option is available on the black panel right above “Settings”.
- Real-time Updates in Web Browser – Allows for updating of statistics in real-time through your web browser. This puts a strain on performance and isn’t recommended for use.
- Google Maps API Key – Grants you access to the use of Google Maps to create your floorplan with. Refer to the message below it for more information.
- SMTP Server – Allows you to send email alerts/notifications via SMTP.
Here, you will be able to configure the interface. You can change the time format and the language used for your controller. You can also change the display settings for the web pages(s). Under “Data”, you can let the controller auto discover and Ubiquiti devices and add them to the list. You will want to leave this on to save the hassle of manually adding them.
The refresh rate options are only for when viewing content through the web browser, you are advised to not use this setting where dozens of access points/users are being managed to avoid performance degradation. For notifications you will want to leave everyone at the default settings for instance accidentally blocking users or restarting a crucial access point.
In this section, you may configure specific notifications for certain events. As you can see it has a great amount of detail to it for each event. You can enable or disable “Alert”, “Event”, and “Email” for each one.
Cloud Access lets you login to your controller remotely through the use of an Ubiquiti account. Upon click “Enable Cloud Access”, you will be prompted to enter your credentials. From there, if you don’t already have an Ubiquiti account, you can register for now down below. You are also able to login to your controller locally by enabling the “Enable Local Login with UBNT Account” option. Once you login, owner information will be displayed below. You can also enable “Enable connection errors reporting” down under “Advanced Options” to assist Ubiquiti with any problems or issues that you may discover.
Ubiquiti offers a service called “UniFi Elite” which gets you additional support options and warranties for your products. You will also be given a virtual computer pre-configured with the Ubiquiti UniFi controller that can be provisioned on the internet.
This setting allows you to make changes to how logs are stored on the controller and for how long. You can also show your system configuration and download it for troubleshooting purposes, it is recommended that you keep this information for yourself and to not share it with anyone but Ubiquiti employees. This allows them to properly diagnose any serious issues that you may be having with the controller and allow them to provide you with a proper solution. At the bottom shows a list of UniFi access points and their respective firmwares installed. Unless you are having issues, and are told otherwise it is best to leave this section untouched.
The most important setting that you will need to configure. This gives you the ability to make backups of all your logs and settings on a regular basis. In the event of a system or hardware failure, you will be able to reinstall the controller and import your old backup with relative ease.
Once auto backup is enabled, you are given additional options to configure including “Occurrence” how often the controller should make backups and at what timezone should is occur on. You can also set the maximum number of files retained before deletion and how long they should stay there for. Next you should download a backup copy to your computer whenever an important change is made to your settings. You can also restore that downloaded file at anytime, preferably if you plan on installing a new controller on a different computer.
Of course whenever you make a change in your controller settings, don’t forget at the bottom of each page to click on “Apply Changes”. It is easy to miss, and can cause unnecessary headaches. I know it did for me!
You now know the ins and outs of the Ubiquiti UniFi Controller. Hopefully this will have given you a head start on any potential future deployments in large quantities and expand on your enthusiasm on all things networking. If you are in need of assistance, Ubiquiti has a community forum here that you can check out or feel free to contact me here as well.