In this article I will show you how to optimize and troubleshoot UniFi Access Points (UAP) including the UniFI Dream Machine (UDM).
Check the current price of the UnFi gear that I’m using:
- UniFi Dream Machine – https://amzn.to/3duBodd
- UniFi AP AC PRO – https://amzn.to/2XOu4Dw
- UniFi switch 8 port 60W PoE – https://amzn.to/2XWyDeb
Table of Contents
Check this story if you are in a hurry
If your phone or laptop is displaying full Wi-Fi signal, but pages won’t load or you want to get the max of your Ubiquiti equipment this video/article is just for you.
I will describe a series of optimizing tips and troubleshooting steps for your UniFi network, so you won’t see ever again continuously loading pages with no results, and issues like exclamation point over the WiFi signal as well as strange auto-assigned IPs (Such as 169.254.X.X) for your local devices.
I will start with some common things that you can check and do and then gradually I will show you several optimizing tips for your UniFi network.
So make sure that you read the whole thing.
Now let’s smash that like subscribe button and start this:
Update your Firmware
First things first! You have to update your devices firmware if you haven’t done that already.
Go to Devices section in your UniFi controller and hover your mouse over each of your devices. If there is an update you will see an “Upgrade” button next to the “Restart” button in the very right part of the screen.
Just make sure that you are using the grid view.
Wireless or wired packet loss?
Next thing is trivial, but very important – you have to determine if there is any packet loss and if yes is it from wireless or wired infrastructure.
Open two Terminal windows (MacOS / Linux) or Command prompts (Windows) and try to continuously ping Google’s public DNS (188.8.131.52) and your router at the same time.
If there is packet loss to both IPs, then you probably have a wireless issue. If there is only packet loss on 184.108.40.206 (Google’s public DNS), then you likely have a wired or Internet Provider issue.
I have no packet loss in this example, only the latency is not great, but i’m not at home at the moment. I’m currently connected to my home using a VPN.
If you want to have such VPN as well – check these articles, oh boy I have plenty:
- UniFi Dream Machine – Things That No One Told You
- WireGuard VPN from Home Assistant Easy Setup
- Raspberry Pi into VPN (How-To)
I’m explaining there how to setup a VPN step by step.
If you have UniFi equipment check the first link, the other 2 are kind of universal.
If there is packet loss from wired infrastructure
I will focus more on the optimizing and troubleshoot UniFi wireless connections, but here’s few tips If turns out to have wired packet loss.
- Check your cables and replace them if needed. I had a cable issue before and it was very devious and tricky to catch, but so easy to fix.
- Double check if your Smart Queues are enabled and upload (Up Rate) and download (Down Rate) values of the Smart Queues are configured accurately to match your ISP rates
If your wired problem still exist – call your Internet Service Provider. You can also ask for help in the UniFi Community.
Now let’s continue to optimize and troubleshoot UniFi Wi-Fi.
Access Point Proximity
Another trivial, but must do and check thing is the Access Point Proximity.
Just try moving closer to the UniFi Access Point or the UniFi Dream Machine and verify if the things get a lot better.
If that is the case evaluate again the locations and count of the Access Points in your home.
Set Transmit or TX Power
The next thing that you can try, especially if you have more than one Access Points (or Access Point and UniFi Dream Machine like me) is to set a custom transmit power or TX power – here is how:
Go to Devices select an UniFi AP or UDM and click on the Configuration tab. Then click on Radios menu and set Transmit Power to Custom under Radio 2G and Radio 5G.
dBm is decibels (dB) with reference to one milliwatt
Have in mind that most mobile devices have a TX power between 14 and 18 dBm, so you can experiment with this setting for best results.
Good starting point is 18 dBm!
And don’t forget to apply your changes.
We will continue to optimize and troubleshoot UniFi network and the next thing to change is the DTIM (Delivery Traffic Indication Message or Map).
A default DTIM period of 1 is used for compatibility and legacy reasons. However, many recent iOS and Android mobile devices, will perform better and save up to 66% of their WiFi battery consumption if the DTIM period is set to 3. This is where you can change this:
Open your UniFi Controller interface and go to Settings > Wireless Networks and click on Edit button next to the network where your modern devices usually connect.
Go to Advanced Options and scroll down until you see the 802.11 Rate and Beacon Controls then click on it.
Uncheck the Use default values and then modify the DTIM period for your 2G and 5G.
For networks where nearly all connected devices are modern, it is recommended to use a DTIM period of 3.
Save your changes and enjoy your mobile device long lasting battery!
TIP: If you have legacy devices, separate them in different Wi-FI SSID and leave the DTIM to the default value of 1 for this “legacy” network.
Question for You, dear reader!
How is your WiFi? I mean is your speed and coverage ok or not?
Share me your experience I will love to read it and it can be helpful to others as well.
Uptime of the UniFi Devices
Another good check for your network health is the uptime of the UniFi Access Points and all devices as a whole. Here is where you can check it.
Simply go to Devices section and search for the Uptime column.
Watch this for the next couple of days/weeks and if there are strange resets without a good reason for any of your devices, then you have a problematic device/configuration and you can deep dive into this device.
Auto-Optimize Network feature
Auto doesn’t mean Best in most cases! And this is valid for here as well.
In this regard to optimize and troubleshoot UniFi networks better it is a good idea to disable the Auto-Optimize Network feature.
To do that go to Settings > Site and scroll down until you see the Auto-Optimize Network feature. Then turn it off!
Save your changes and enjoy your not auto optimized network and tell me if it is better than before or not!
Warning: Do the next thing only if you have wireless issues and you want to troubleshoot!
Try to enable the AirTime-Fairness feature. That way you will bring base functionality to the bare minimum. Here is how
Go to Settings > Site and check the Enable Advanced Features under Services section.
Then go to Devices and click on the device that you want to edit (must be wireless capable device).
Click on the Config and scroll down until you see the AIRTIME FAIRNESS drop down menu.
Click on it and turn it on to see if the things will get better.
This will put some fair limits to your clients connected to this AP and it may help you.
If all fails…
If everything until now fails, feel free to post your symptoms and configuration In the UniFi community.
I’m thrilled to announce you something! And I waited to tell you about it at the very end of this article. That way only You who read all of this will know about it 😉
I just released my first digital Smart Home Getting Started Actionable guide.
And first doesn’t mean bad or low quality!
On the contrary, I manage to gain a lot of Smart Home experience and I put a lot, a lot of efforts in the Guide – the result is just great!
But why don’t you check it out by yourself ➡️ link
Hope you will like it as much as I do.
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I really hope that you find this information useful and you now know how to optimize and troubleshoot UniFi Access Points, including the UniFI Dream Machine which have integrated Access point in it.
Stay safe and don’t forget – Home Smart, But Not Hard!
Thank you for reading, I will see YOU in the next article 😎