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1906 posts

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# 165651 16-Feb-2015 12:47
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Reading around about the Ubiquiti devices, the FAQ tells me that the devices can work on their own but for certain features (such as the hotspot function -- which I'm not interested in) a controller is required.  Could someone explain in a nutshell how these devices are configured from out of the box in a situation where several devices are being installed onto a single site?  How do they continue to operate with no UniFi controller?

I'm comparing this with my (MTCNA) knowledge of how Mikrotik does this with their CAPSMan function where one (any) device is a controller and the rest pick up that configuration over the wire.

Maybe my Google-fu is weak but Ubiquiti's documentation seems a bit lack-luster, especially when trying to find quick answers :0

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  # 1239994 16-Feb-2015 13:18
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  1. Install controller software on a machine.  This could be on your LAN or internet-based.
  2. Configure a DNS entry for 'unifi' to point to the IP of your machine with the controller.  This relies on you being able to configure DNS entries manually.  (Plan B is to telnet/SSH into the device once it has a DHCP address and manually configure the IP o he controller.)
  3. Connect and power up the devices
  4. Devices will appear in your controller software as 'unconfigured'.
  5. Configure device.
  6. Devices accept configuration and check in from time to time to see if there are any configuration changes.

 

The devices can be configured to relay off each other without too much difficulty, so only one of a cluster needs a cable network connection.  This is unusual of course as you have to get PoE to the device so that normally means a LAN cable is available.

If controller is uncontactable, the devices keep chugging along with the current settings.  This is common - the controller software does not auto-start by default.  Leaving the controller software running does let it notify you if any of the devices are offline and lets you see some performance numbers.

We use them and like them.




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams

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  # 1240014 16-Feb-2015 13:47
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Just a note that the auto-detection will only work of you are within the same broadcast area. I.e. we run the controller software hundreds of KM away from the devices. We needed to SSH into them and then set the address of the controller manually.




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  # 1240015 16-Feb-2015 13:51
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Zeon: Just a note that the auto-detection will only work of you are within the same broadcast area. I.e. we run the controller software hundreds of KM away from the devices. We needed to SSH into them and then set the address of the controller manually.

I didn't realise that the AP tried to auto-detect the controller.  We've always supplied these to clients linked to our own off-site controller, making the DNS entry mandatory.  We've never had to manually access the devices.




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams



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  # 1240020 16-Feb-2015 14:02
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Thanks for the replies.

Their tree-diagrams show the controller as being either "On-Site Management Station" or "Off-Site Cloud/NOC [2]"

[2]. All UniFi APs support off-site management controllers. See the User Guide for setup details.

Does this require ssh/vpn or is it actually not Cloud based?

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  # 1240026 16-Feb-2015 14:09
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UBNT don't offer any controller service so their definition of "cloud" is up to you. They will hunt for any controller on the same layer 2 network.

Either install a controller on site or run one offsite and either use DHCP option43 to point the APs to the public IP of the controller, or SSH into them to point them to the IP of the controller.



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  # 1240028 16-Feb-2015 14:13
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Crack up.  Cheers for that

(Stays on the Mikrotik side :))

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  # 1240029 16-Feb-2015 14:14
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No fancy network configuration required (apart from the DNS entry if you can to save you having to SSH into the device to configure the IP of the management server).  The device will pick up a DHCP address and then access thee internet like any other device to access it's management server if the IP of the managment server is not a local LAN IP address.

If your firewall is set to restrict outgoing connections (which is unusual for a home or small business device) then you'll need to find port numbers and configure the firewall to let that connection out.

I had forgotten about the DHCP Option 43 option (never used it for these but have used it for VoIP systems), but chances are that if you can manipulate DHCP like that then you can also manipulate DNS so you can 'choose your weapon'.




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams

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