Adopt a Unifi Wireless Access Point

We’ve recently been using UniFi range of wireless access points from Ubiquiti Networks.  A relatively new player on the managed Wi-Fi scene, Ubiquiti has been gaining considerable traction due to the excellent price / performance point of their equipment – we’ve been seeing very satisfactory results using the UniFi Long Range Access Point.


These APs are centrally managed devices, using a small Java based application on any on-site computer.  The access point picks up an IP by DHCP and the Ubiquiti Unifi Controller app scans the network segment to detect the AP.  Once detected, you have the opportunity to ‘adopt’ the AP, bringing it under the control of that particular Controller.  The problem arises that if you attempt to pre-configure the devices (say, in the office before going on-site to install), then you won’t be able to perform a straight-forward adoption on the AP as it is already managed by your office PC.  The discovery software won’t even detect it.


One way to pick up the AP and associate it with the controller is to simply return it to factory defaults, detect it and configure as normal.  Use the ‘restart’ button next to the network socket on the device and hold it in for >5 seconds.  Alternatively, you can access the AP using SSH and the credentials originally used for setup and reset it to default like that

ssh <admin>@ip_address <password> restore-default

Default credentials –  user: ubnt pass: ubnt

The other method is to back up the configuration of the controller originally associated with the AP and restore it to your permanent on-site controller.  On the office PC with the AP adopted, launch Unifi Controller and go to Admin > Backup > Download Backup Settings.  Download the config as a *.unf file.  On your target, launch uinifi Controller and go to Admin > Restore > Select File > Confirm:


Once the settings have uploaded the controller software will restart and then pick up your access point practically instantaneously.  Well, that’s what happened for us, don’t blame me if yours doesn’t!

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