UniFi Network Install Complete - Are there optimizations?

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Mark M

Occasional Visitor
I've finally completed most of my Unifi Network. I have a two floor house + basement. So far I have a NanoHD on the 2nd floor and a AC Mesh outdoor in my back yard. I have the Controller Software on my Server. So far so good. I will be adding a 3rd sometime this week. All are hard-wired as WAP's.

The only thing that annoyed me was creating completely separate SSID names of my choice (I did not want a 2g Suffix). Got around that using the method others have stated: Created two whole separate wifi networks within Settings > Wireless Networks. Then for each access point, I went into config > wlan and did an override to disable the respective bands I did not want enabled per SSID. I assume this shouldn't screw up any Mesh'ing...

I consider myself above average in configuring home networks, but having a Mesh system/higher end system with a controller is new to me. Lots of new options!

The only "optimizations" I've done so far:

- RF Scans: Devices > AP > Tools > Scan. I did this for both of my access points. I assume this scan assists in choosing a less used channel. I noticed one of my AP's switched to Channel 4 for 2.4 Ghz. As far as I'm concerned, isn't that a no-no since it's an overlapping channel?

- Changed my 5 GHz Radios on both AP's to VHT80 MHz width. I left 2.4 alone at 20 mhz because I live in a townhouse community. Not going to mess with 40 Mhz.

Now for the questions:

1) Is there any guide, or any recommendations to follow out there for fine tuning the UniFi network? Surely leaving everything stock aside from the two things I changed isn't ideal for a system this advanced...

2) What is "WIRELESS UPLINKS" option in each AP settings? It looks like "Allow meshing to another access point" is turned off. One would think this should be on when Meshing devices. I thought the whole point of this system was a mesh in the first place? Figured It's not exactly what I think it is, so keeping it off for now.

3) When my iPhone 11 Pro wakes up from a "sleep", I noticed It's not connected to WiFi the split second I turn the screen on. It does seem to reconnect after about a second. I only noticed this because it says "LTE" when waking up sleep.

I'm not "too concerned" because I notice this occurs at work also (Cisco Enterprise network). Does this have something to do with power saving features on both the UniFi AP's and Phones? Some "features" my old Netgear home router didn't have? Is this good or bad, some setting I should adjust? This behavior is just odd, so I'm trying to understand it.

That's really it. I'm sure people have their pet peeves regarding certain settings. I'm ready to hear them; why and how you've changed them.
 

netwrks

Senior Member
1) Is there any guide, or any recommendations to follow out there for fine tuning the UniFi network? Surely leaving everything stock aside from the two things I changed isn't ideal for a system this advanced...

The best guide is the Unifi forum.

2) What is "WIRELESS UPLINKS" option in each AP settings? It looks like "Allow meshing to another access point" is turned off. One would think this should be on when Meshing devices. I thought the whole point of this system was a mesh in the first place? Figured It's not exactly what I think it is, so keeping it off for now.
The Wireless Uplinks is used to wirelessly uplinks AP's together. Should only be used as a last resort (RE: no Ethernet connection). In your case, it should be disabled on the controller, as your AP's are Ethernet connected. AP's that are Ethernet connected with Wireless Connection enabled on the controller, can cause various types of issues.

I thought the whole point of this system was a mesh in the first place? It is not. By default, there is no "meshing" between AP's. Unifi's true mesh network is Amplifi: https://amplifi.com/

I would suggest you join the Unifi forum, and post questions so that you can get your network correctly configured, and also better understand what you have installed..

https://www.ui.com/

EDIT: Edited for completmess.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
@Mark M - Answers to your bullet questions below:

1) UI forums (for threads like this one), plus Googling for blogs/articles such as this ArsTecnica article. Between that and tons of YouTube guides, you'll get a pretty good gist of how to optimize. If you haven't already, I would read this Duckware article as a primer on wifi in general.

2) Wireless Uplink is Ubiquiti's nomenclature for wireless backhaul, aka mesh. It's disabled by default because it's really meant as a last-resort and/or temporary type solution, until hard-wiring of those APs can be completed. Mesh itself is not the point of UniFi. UniFi is a wire-first/wire-only AP system whose success, like many others in the space, is based on getting as much directly-connected fronthaul as close to clients as possible, with as little co-interference as possible, then being able to control the entire access layer via a single interface. That is the point of UniFi.

That being said, mesh functionality is present, but hard-wiring is really the best and preferred practice with the regular UniFi line, plus its mesh code base is not as fully optimized for such a use as the likes of true multi-point product (like UniFi Mesh, which is used more for wide-area WAN). If you're really intended on mixing more amounts of wireless uplink into dual-band LAN wifi, then you want to look to a product with a much more robust implementation of it, such as Aruba or Ruckus (warning: substantial cost difference).

TL;DR - If you were buying UniFi thinking you'd be getting a like-for-like replace for all-wireless-mesh home systems like Orbi or Eero, you'd be gravely mistaken. It's meant to be a predominantly hard-wired system.

3) That iPhone 11 issue may be a phone/iOS related issue, less a UniFi one. Very tough to say just going on that description alone. However, based on the description of how you've setup your wireless broadcasts, the phone could be disconnecting/reconnecting due to potential multi SSID co-interference. Why are you creating difference SSIDs per AP anyways? That somewhat defeats the whole point of UniFi, which is, in large part, to create as few SSIDs are are absolutely necessary, and let UniFi do the client steering, roaming and management. Or have I misunderstood how you've setup your wireless network names?
 
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jasons6930

Regular Contributor
Not that this is the slightest help but a couple of years ago i had the same issue with IOS where i would get up in the morning and it would have dropped wifi, even though it had good signal.

Turned out my crappy internet connection would reboot externally overnight, and the phone would disconnect from wifi for some reason, and when it all came back on, it wouldn't reconnect automatically.

Also, from memory, i am sure i read that if the phone is jumping from ap to ap and not settling, it will (used to) give up and settle on mobile data.
 

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