Ubiquiti Unifi Adds Useful Wireless Heat Maps

For as long as I can remember the unifi controller software has allowed to either upload custom images/blueprints to the controller or to link the google maps image to your deployment location. This was a nice feature, but in reality it didn’t really do much. Where ever you placed the devices on the image all it did create a gradient circle around the device. This didn’t take into account interference. Also the google maps image was confusing too, because unless you had a large outdoor deployment then all you’re doing is putting devices on the roof of your house.

A couple of years ago I got exposed to Aruba Central. Aruba Central is Aruba’s cloud based controller for their instant access points. Aruba took this concept a couple of steps further.

  1. Upload blueprints of the building and place devices
  2. Outline the walls and windows with different material types to reflect the coverage map.
  3. Show connected client devices on the map.

Ubiquiti, has caught up to Aruba by completing step 2.

I’m not sure when this feature was released i just found it when I set up my Unifi Dream Machine Pro and had to re do it manually because my Ubuntu VM controller was too new of a version higher then the up to date controller software on the Unifi Dream Machine Pro.

Overall its pretty simple process in your controller go to and select the Map Icon.

Map icon

Once in the Map Section change the view from Topology to Floorplan.

Floorplan Switch

If you haven’t already done this in the Top Right corner select Add New Floor Plan to Upload an image of your deployment.

Mainfloor

After uploading you floor plan, I suggest you set your scale first. Because the scale sets the coverage distance on the map. Select the bottom icon from the left, select feet or meters, and then click a drag a distance you know and type it in the box.

Setting the Scale

After the scale is set, add your devices to the map. You can add switches as well, that feature doesn’t do anything more then just show where they physically are in the space.

Devices

Now for the magic, Start tracing your walls. Select the Pencil icon and choose the type of wall you have. Then start tracing. As you go change the wall type is needed to reflect Windows or cabinets.

Wall Types

If you have the coverage toggle enabled then as you add more walls to the blueprint the coverage changes based on your floor plan.

Main floor

As you can see in my house, the center rectangular wall causes my coverage issues. In reality, coverage is worse then that because in that rectangle is the main return air vent for the entire house. But now at least i have an easy to read picture of each floor to show my wife why we (I) need more Unifi Access Points.

When I had to pick network drop locations while building the house, the mechanical routes were not on the blueprints or else I would have accounted for that during building the house.

As you can see my issues continue upstairs as well. So as soon as the new Unifi Wifi 6 APs come out of Early Release I’ll be replacing so APs.

-Terry Sheridan