UniFi Network Application on Ubuntu Server on Raspberry Pi 3 (arm64)

Another catchy title, right? 😀

Decided that I want to move my UniFi network controller to Ubuntu based installation, which will be running on top of Raspberry Pi (3) device which was collecting dust.

This can be easily achieved by following these steps:

  • take a backup of your current configuration (my controller was offline, so I’ve just copied the last automatic backup from /var/lib/unifi/backup/autobackup)
  • prepare the SD card with OS installation (detailed info here) – I’ve selected Ubuntu Server 21.10:

  • with prepared SD card, boot Ubuntu Server on your Raspberry Pi device
  • first login is ubuntu/ubuntu, and you’ll need to change password immediately after
  • next, you’ll probably want to set your Raspberry Pi to use static IP configuration – I’m using netplan to set it up:
    • just in case, I removed all *.yaml files inside /etc/netplan/
    • create new netplan template (YAML file) called 00-eth0.yaml in /etc/netplan/ (watch those white spaces!)

    • apply the configuration (your IP address will be reconfigured, so you’ll also lose the current SSH connection, if connected remotely(!))

  • install the UniFi Network Application:
    • there is a nice official guide here, once you take care of prerequisites, but basically:

  • restore from backup and start using it:

Note: If you’ll check your unifi service status, you may see “WARN Unable to load properties from ‘/usr/lib/unifi/data/system.properties’“:

This can easily be resolved by enabling the built-in “uncomplicated firewall” (ufw) – don’t forget to open ports you’ll need when it’s active! (such as SSH (22/tcp), inform endpoint for your devices (8080/tcp), UniFi Network Application web (8443/tcp), etc.):

* can be done more restricted, if needed
** full list of ports is available at https://help.ui.com/hc/en-us/articles/218506997-UniFi-Ports-Used – add them if needed (for instance, 6789/tcp is used when testing upload/download with mobile app)
*** be careful – it’s a firewall!

Note: If your access point is shown offline/timeout, maybe you forgot to open up the “inform port” 8080/tcp in UFW (been there, of course 😀):

And that’s it – you now have the fully functioning UniFi controller/UniFi Network Application running on top of your Ubuntu Server powered Raspberry Pi device!

Cheers!

P.S. Enable the autobackup feature… it’s useful (sometimes)! 😀