UniFi – Set up UAPs in wireless uplink topology


Readers will learn how to wirelessly connect UAPs to the LAN topology via upstream wired UAPs using UniFi’s proprietary method: Wireless Uplink. If you would like more information on the subject, see our UniFi- Feature Guide: Wireless Uplink article.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Steps
  3. Video Tutorial
  4. Other Considerations
  5. User Notes
  6. Related Articles


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info_i_25x25.png Note: Each Wireless Downlink reduces the available throughput for the Uplink radio by 50%, where “Radio Throughput = Aggregate Bandwidth * [0.5 ^ (# of Wireless Downlinks)]”.

Switch ——–(wire)——— Uplink AP )))))))wireless(((((( Island AP

Note: This feature is not supported for UAP-AC and UAP-AC Outdoor. Additionally, there are limitations when uplinking wired and wireless devices. The following will always be true: 

checkmark_25x25.png Dual band wired > Dual band wireless, uplink works on 5GHz
checkmark_25x25.png Dual band wired > Single band wireless, will uplink on supported frequency of the single band model
checkmark_25x25.png Single band wired > Single band wireless will work, as long as the same band is supported on both sides of the link
X_25x25.png Single band wired > dual band wireless will not work


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info_i_25x25.png Note: If you follow these instructions and do not get the desired result, try upgrading your firmware and then following the steps.

The wireless uplink is designed to be reliable rather than quick/dynamic. Please be patient for the isolated state change, the discovery, and the link setup. To enable wireless uplink:

  1. Adopt all APs through wire first (using Ethernet cable). In other words, adopt both uplink and island APs.
  2. Put the island AP to the intended location and connect its power. This means connect power adapter POE port to the island AP, but leave power adapter LAN port empty.
  3. After the island AP is up, on the controller, wait until it becomes “Heartbeat Missed” and then “Disconnected” or “Isolated” state (takes about 6+ minutes). It will not service any configured WLANs at this moment.
  4. Make sure to have wireless uplink enabled in the Uplink Connectivity Monitor option under the Services section in Settings > Site.
  5. Click on the AP under the Devices tab to open the AP properties panel. And under Configuration > Wireless Uplink, select the uplink AP of your choice (click on “Find more” if no uplink AP is shown).
  6. The controller establishes wireless uplink between the selected uplink AP and the island AP. The island AP is now wireless connected and serving.

Video Tutorial

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Other Considerations

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Wireless Uplink introduces a new status: “Isolated”. When the AP is unable to reach the gateway, it goes into the Isolated state. In this state:

  • All servicing WLANs are disabled (if we cannot reach the gateway, wireless clients won’t either)
  • Has different LED pattern – steady green (managed) with occasional dims
  • AP will send out beacon over the air and can be found by nearby APs
  • Only the wired APs under the same controller can establish a downlink to this isolated AP
  • By default, wired APs don’t go off-channel to look for isolated APs. “Find more” trigger wired APs to do so. And after wireless uplink is set up, the isolated AP will always find and follow the same channel use by its uplink AP

User Notes & Tips

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These notes have been added thanks to user collaboration. Have anything to contribute? Click on the Give Feedback button below!

  • If you encounter issues, it might be that you need to avoid DFS (Dynamic Frequency Selection) for wireless uplinks to work. This might cause issues in some cases, but not all.

Related Articles

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 UniFi- Feature Guide: Wireless Uplink


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