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How to configure advanced network features on your UniFi Controller

Published onFebruary 8, 2024

Configuring advanced network features through the UniFi Controller is a great way to tailor your network management and functionality to meet specific needs. Especially, for MSPs or network administrators handling large network this can be very usefull.

Features such as Dynamic DNS (DDNS), VLANs, SSIDs, and DHCP settings improve network performance, security, and scalability.

This article is a step-by-step guide on configuring these advanced features to leverage your UniFi deployments to the max.

Let's dive in!

Table of Contents

Configuring Dynamic DNS (DDNS)

Dynamic DNS is essential for networks with dynamic public IP addresses, allowing for consistent access to network resources through a domain name. Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Access UniFi Controller Settings: Log into your UniFi Controller and navigate to the settings section.

  2. Locate DDNS Settings: Find the Dynamic DNS settings, often under the network or services tab.

  3. Enter DDNS Provider Details: Select your DDNS provider from the list and enter your account details, including the domain name provided by the DDNS service.

  4. Apply Changes: Save the configuration to enable DDNS for your network. This ensures that your dynamic IP address is automatically updated with the DDNS provider, keeping your domain pointing to the correct IP.

Setting up VLANs

VLANs are vital for network segmentation, improving security, and managing traffic efficiently. To configure VLANs:

  1. Define VLAN Networks: In the UniFi Controller, go to the networks section and create a new network. Specify the VLAN ID and configure the network settings, including the subnet and DHCP scope if needed.

  2. Assign VLAN to Networks: For wireless networks, create a new SSID or edit an existing one and assign the VLAN ID under the advanced options. For wired networks, configure the switch ports to tag VLAN traffic appropriately.

Configuring SSIDs

SSIDs (Service Set Identifiers) are used to identify and segregate wireless networks. To configure or modify an SSID:

  1. Navigate to Wireless Networks: In the UniFi Controller, go to the settings and select "Wireless Networks".

  2. Create or Edit an SSID: Click “Create New Wireless Network” or edit an existing one. Enter the SSID name, configure security settings (such as WPA2/3), and, if applicable, assign it to a VLAN.

  3. Advanced Settings: Explore advanced settings for optimizing performance, such as band steering, minimum RSSI, and access control lists.

DHCP Settings Configuration

The DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) service is crucial for automatically assigning IP addresses to devices. To configure DHCP:

  1. Define a Network: Ensure you have a defined network within the UniFi Controller with a specified subnet.

  2. Enable DHCP Server: In the network settings, enable the DHCP server option and configure the IP range, lease time, and any specific options like DNS servers or NTP servers.

  3. DHCP Guarding: Implement DHCP guarding to prevent unauthorized DHCP servers on your network, enhancing security.

How to manage advanced configuration

  • Plan Your Network: Before making changes, plan your network layout, including VLAN segmentation and SSID distribution, to ensure optimal performance and security.

  • Regular Updates: Keep your UniFi Controller and devices updated to benefit from the latest features and security enhancements. Here is how we do this at UniHosted.

  • Backup Your Configuration: Regularly back up your UniFi Controller configuration to prevent data loss and facilitate easy recovery.

  • Monitor and Test: After configuring advanced features, monitor your network’s performance and conduct tests to ensure settings are optimized for your specific environment.

Final Thoughts

Advanced network features like DDNS, VLANs, SSIDs, and DHCP allows MSPs and network administrators to build customized, efficient, and secure networks. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can improve the functionality of your UniFi deployments.

At UniHosted, we understand the complexities of advanced network configuration. Our cloud-hosted UniFi Controller services are designed to simplify the management of these features, providing a robust platform for your scalable networking needs.

Feel free to give us a spin! Additionally, I'm happy to walk you through personally. You can schedule a call with me (Founder of UniHosted) here.

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