Despite what Ubiquiti Networks says, UniFi Networks systems do not run out of the box. In this post, The NY/FL Nerds will break down the 3 most common UniFi Network Setup Mistakes we’ve come across in the last 10+ years in working with UniFi.

UniFi Network Setup Mistakes account for 99% of the UniFi Network issues the NY/FL Nerds resolve. We recently received a phone call from a warehouse-sized shared office space in Brooklyn, New York. Their UniFi Network system was physically setup, but not correctly configured or optimized. The company who installed their system (friends of the workspace owner)  just 30 days ago was clueless on how to make the system work the way it was supposed to. I should add that this call for service was received on a Sunday evening.

Any UniFi network professional like the NY/FL Nerds could tell within 5 minutes of controller access what was wrong with the system. From incorrectly purchased and placed UniFi Network Access Points,  a completely misconfigured controller, ineffective use of almost 2 entire Class-C network subnets, and ending out with almost 0 security features enabled on the controller. It was a disaster.

A couple of quotes later, a bunch of monitoring and suggestions, end result – we didn’t get the work (we think we insulted the original installer), and that’s okay! The NY/FL Nerds doesn’t cut corners, and that’s what the company wanted to do. The was a saying back in the Windows 98 era, Plug and Play? I know we (most of us) remember this, right? That term sometimes gets tossed around with the UniFi Networks and their setup.  It’s definitely not a plug and play system. Trust us.

Here’s the top 3 UniFi setup mistakes the NY/FL Nerds has come across in the past 15 years

Installing the wrong UniFi Network hardware

This is absolutely vague, and it’s intended to be. Not all UniFi Network hardware should be used in all installations. Picking up a switch aggregator isn’t the same as a switch and not all UniFi Networks access points are the same.

Often, installing the wrong hardware can cause your installation to go bad and result in devices failing to connect. You should never buy a UniFi access point or switch without first reading the user guide and making sure it is compatible with your system or better off – contact a professional. It leaves the guesswork out of things for you.

This happens a lot, and it’s because users believe one access point is the same as another. That’s not the case. Each UniFi Networks Access Point has it’s own use and functionality.

UniFi System Setup pro-tip: When accessing what access points you need, consider how many users and devices may be connecting to the AP you’re installing. If the UniFi networks AP has an HD in it’s name, it’s because it’s for high density areas.

UniFI Nano HD Access Point. Great AP for UniFi Network Setups

UniFI Nano HD Access Point. Great AP for UniFi Network Setups


Not Knowing what UniFi Network Options do What

If you’re new to Ubiquiti, it can be difficult to know what the options on your UniFi access points and switches do. If you have multiple APs or switches, it can be overwhelming to try and remember all of the settings on each device. Some options require other options to be enabled before the selected “option” will work.

One of those “options” is global AP and network settings that you can apply to all of your UniFi access points, networks and switches. This means you can apply common settings like channel width, transmit power, and wireless meshing to all of your APs in a single step. This step requires that access points be in a specific state and for specific options to be enabled on them individually before this setting will work.

You can even except certain APs and networks from these global rules if you prefer to control them individually. Circling back to the “Plug and Play” mentioned above – this is what gives users the perception of set it and forget it. This setting works well for 1 or 2 AP’s, anything additional – this setting is the kiss of death.

If you’re in a big city like New York or Miami this isn’t going to work – ever. There are too many people, and too many networks. Each UniFi AP will need to be set on it’s own channel so that it’s not interfering with other wireless networks.

UniFi System setup Pro tip – The global AP optimization occurs only at night. If you’re in a commercial space, there’s not so much usage on the networks around you at night.  This defeats the intended purpose of global optimization.


UniFi Controller Screen during UniFi System Setup

UniFi Controller Screen during UniFi System Setup

Adopting UniFi Networks Devices

There’s an intended order in how devices need to be adopted to the controller. If you’re adopting your AP’s before adopting your switches, you probably should change this practice. The order in which devices should to be adopted are as follows:

1. The UniFi Network Controller (UniFi Dream Machine, UniFi Dream Wall, UniFi CloudKey, UniFi PC/Mac/Linux Controller), then

2. UniFi Networks Switches (any and all of them – including the UniFi Switch Mission Critical), then

3. UniFi NVR (network video recorder – If you have cameras installed AND want above the single disk storage option provided in the UniFi Networks Dream Machine) then/or,

4. UniFi PDU (power distribution unit) then,

5. UniFi RPS (redundant power supply)next,

6. UniFi AP’s (Access Points), finally

7. UniFi Accessories (UniFi

UniFi System Setup Pro Tip: If you go out of order and you are having issues, you can factory reset your entire system and start over again. You’re not bound to any one configuration, which is one of the reasons the NY/FL Nerds love the product. If your needs change down the road, your system scales with you. 

NY/FL Nerds Unifi


If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, you can always call a professional like the NY/FL Nerds. We’ve been working helping users (residential, commercial, and industrial) get their UniFi systems working perfectly since 2007. Some of our clients include – The Centers for Disease Control, Yves Saint Laurent, Bloomingdales, The NY Mets, Wolflube, Topps Sports Cards, Zagat, Amazon, and hundreds of others. They love their UniFi Systems – you will too. Call us today, we’re open 24/7