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Move UniFi controller to Cloud Key

Published onFebruary 8, 2024

There are a few ways to add more efficiency to your networks. One of them is to migrate your UniFi Controller to a UniFi Cloud Key. It will most definitely add more scalability and management capabilities.

In this article, let me walk you through the process of moving your UniFi Controller to a Cloud Key and check out the pros and cons.

Let's dive in!

Table of Contents

Migrating to Cloud Key

Before embarking on the migration, it's crucial to understand what a Cloud Key is. The UniFi Cloud Key is a compact, plug-and-play hardware controller from Ubiquiti. It allows you to manage your UniFi network devices locally with the advantage of cloud-based remote access.

If you want a deeper understanding before you decide to migrate, we wrote an in-depth review on the UniFi Cloud Key here

Advantages of Migrating to a Cloud Key

  • Centralized Management: Manage multiple UniFi devices from a single interface.
  • Enhanced Performance: The Cloud Key provides reliable and efficient hardware specifically designed for UniFi Controller software.
  • Remote Access: Access your network from anywhere, anytime, without the need for a dedicated computer or server.
  • Automatic Updates: The Cloud Key can automatically handle updates, ensuring your network is always up-to-date.

Preparing for Migration

  1. Backup Your Current Controller: Before migrating, it’s vital to back up your current UniFi Controller settings. This can be done within the UniFi Controller software under the 'Settings' > 'Maintenance' section.

  2. Update Your UniFi Devices: Ensure all your UniFi devices are updated to the latest firmware to avoid compatibility issues.

Setting Up Your Cloud Key

  1. Connect the Cloud Key: Plug your Cloud Key into a power source and connect it to your network via an Ethernet cable.

  2. Initial Setup: Access the Cloud Key's configuration interface through a web browser. This is typically done by navigating to its IP address on your local network.

  3. Update Cloud Key Firmware: It’s recommended to update your Cloud Key to the latest firmware version for optimal performance and security.

Migrating to the Cloud Key

  1. Restore Backup: In the Cloud Key’s UniFi Controller interface, navigate to 'Settings' > 'Maintenance' and upload the backup file you created from your previous controller.

  2. Adopting UniFi Devices: After restoring the backup, your UniFi devices should appear in the Cloud Key’s controller. If they don’t automatically reconnect, you may need to adopt them manually. This process can vary depending on the device and network configuration.

  3. Verify Network Configuration: Once the devices are adopted, verify that your network configurations (such as SSIDs, VLANs, and firewall rules) have been correctly migrated and are functioning as intended.

Post-Migration Checks

  • Monitor Network Performance: Keep an eye on your network’s performance to ensure all devices are functioning correctly.
  • Update DNS and DHCP Settings: If your previous controller was also serving as a DNS or DHCP server, update these settings to point to the Cloud Key.

Cloud Key limitations

Physical Device Dependency: Being a hardware solution, the Cloud Key Gen2 Plus is subject to physical damage, wear and tear, and potential hardware failures that could disrupt network management.

Local Setup Requirement: The need for on-site configuration and troubleshooting can be a significant drawback, particularly for users managing networks across different locations.

Scalability Concerns: While suitable for small to medium-sized deployments, the Cloud Key might not be the best fit for larger networks or rapidly scaling environments due to its fixed hardware capabilities.

Maintenance and Updates: The responsibility of manually updating and maintaining the device falls on the user, which can be time-consuming and requires a certain level of technical expertise.

Other options

Cloud-hosting UniFi Controller solutions like UniHosted offer benefits over Cloud Key:

Remote Management: Access your UniFi Controller from anywhere, without the need for physical access to the hardware, offering greater flexibility and convenience.

Scalability: We, at UniHosted, can easily scale with your network needs without the need for additional physical hardware.

Maintenance done-for-you: We take maintence and software updates out of your hands, so you can focus on your business while the Controller is always running the latest software version.

In addition, our cloud-hosted solutions includes:

  • Your own dedicated server
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Automated backups
  • Software version updates
  • unlimited devices

Final Thoughts

Migrating your UniFi Controller to a Cloud Key offers a balance of local network control with the convenience of cloud access. It’s a robust solution for those seeking to streamline their network management, but it comes with its drawbacks.

At UniHosted, we specialize in providing secure, reliable, and scalable hosting solutions for UniFi Controllers. Our services are designed to take the hassle out of network management, so you can focus on your business.

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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