That's something I should have blogged about earlier, but I almost forgot about it, until I read on twitter other people having replaced their home network equipment with Ubnt/Ubiquiti gear so I realized that it was on my to 'TOBLOG' list.

During the winter holidays, the whole family was at home, and also with kids on the WiFi network. Of course I already had a different wlan for them, separated/seggregated from the main one, but plenty of things weren't really working on that crappy device. So it was time to setup something else. I had opportunity to play with some Ubiquiti devices in the past, so finding even an old Unifi UAP model was enough for my needs (just need Access Point, routing/firewall being done on something else).

If you've already played with those tools, you know that you need a controller to setup the devices up , and because it's 'only' a java/mongodb stack, I thought it would be trivial to setup on a low-end device like RaspberryPi3 (not limited to that , so all armhfp boards on which you can run CentOS would work)

After having installed CentOS 7 armhfp minimal on the device, and once logged, I just had to add the mandatory unofficial epel repository for mongodb

cat > /etc/yum.repos.d/epel.repo << EOF
name=Epel rebuild for armhfp


After that, just installed what's required to run the application :

yum install mongodb mongodb-server java-1.8.0-openjdk-headless -y

The "interesting" part is that now Ubnt only provides .deb packages , so we just have to download/extract what we need (it's all java code) and start it :

tmp_dir=$(mktemp -d)
cd $tmp_dir
curl -O
ar vx unifi_sysvinit_all.deb
tar xvf data.tar.xz
mv usr/lib/unifi/ /opt/UniFi
cd /opt/UniFi/bin
/bin/rm -Rf $tmp_dir
ln -s /bin/mongod

You can start it "by hand" but let's create a simple systemd file and use it directly :

cat > /etc/systemd/system/unifi.service << EOF
Description=UBNT UniFi Controller

ExecStart=/usr/bin/java -jar /opt/UniFi/lib/ace.jar start
ExecStop=/usr/bin/java -jar /opt/UniFi/lib/ace.jar stop



systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl enable unifi --now

Don't forget that :

  • it's "Java"
  • running on slow armhfp processor

So that will take time to initialize. You can follow progress in /opt/UniFi/logs/server.log and wait for the TLS port to be opened :

while true ; do sleep 1 ; ss -tanp|grep 8443 && break ; done

Dont forget to open the needed ports for firewall and you can then reach the Unifi controller running on your armhfp board.