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Ubiquiti Unifi AP Adoption Guide (WORK IN PROGRESS)

Introduction (Why we need to do this):

Ubiquiti WiFi access points need a controller (Unifi) to be configured, as they can't operate as standalone devices.
For the mesh, this controller resides on a virtual machine in the SN3 data center.

In a "normal setup" in an office building or somewhere, the AP devices are all on the same LAN and are plugged into a Unifi switch, so they will be auto-detected by the controller and can easily be adopted. 
This intended setup rarely happens on the mesh, as the AP may be on the other side of the city from the controller, with various firewalls and filters in between. This means the device won't automatically find the controller and the controller won't be able to adopt the device, so your fancy new WiFi access point remains a paperweight.

However there is a way to help the process along...
We do this by logging into the device (SSH) and telling it where the controller is located (it's IP address). Once this is done the device will announce itself to the controller and can usually be adopted without issue.

Note: You can't adopt WiFi Mesh AP devices via a wireless only connection. You need to connect them with a wired interface first to adopt them, then you can unplug them and move them to their final location. They will then be able to operate in a WiFi mesh setup using another AP as their uplink.


You will first need to know the IP address of the Access Point. If you're plugged into an Omni, this can usually be found by looking in IP > DHCP Server > Leases Tab. Look for a device called "Unifi" or "UAP-Pro" or something like that. Write down what IP it has and set it to a static IP while you're at it.

If you can't find the device in the leases tab, you may need to Torch the port to find the IP. 
Go to Interfaces > Interface List and click the interface to which the AP is connected. (ether3 on the Omni or whatever)
Click "Torch" in the top menu bar, then click "Start".
At the bottom of the screen you will see a list of connections on that port. Usually the IP of the access point should show up in the "src" column, though there may be a couple others, so wait a second and choose the most prominent IP.

Next you will need a computer from which you can SSH
Pretty much any windows/mac/linux computer will work:

  • For Windows: Windows Key then type "cmd" and hit enter to open a terminal window.
  • For Mac: Command Key + Space, then type "Terminal" and hit enter.
  • For Linux: If you're already running Linux, you should know this...

1. Once you you have the terminal open, type ssh ubnt@<device IP address> and hit enter.
You may need to type "yes" to accept the unknown SSH certificate.
When prompted for a password the default is "ubnt"

2. You should reach the landing screen of