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.

UPDATE: If you’re having issues with Java 11 or path not being set, take a look at comment by G. Faria below.

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)! 😀

2 Comments

  1. Great write up and guide on setting up Unifi Controller/Network on the Raspberry Pi. Just a couple of points that still caused me some trouble and could be added to make the guide more complete:

    – Unifi app not configuring the path to Java correctly and this having to be done manually.

    – In the guide you lock Java to version 11 but this did not work and Java 8 is the one that I had to configure to finaly get everything working. Also includiing the lines to install it just in case.

    Reply

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