How to Adopt the Unifi USW-Flex-Mini onto a remote controller


The unifi line is becoming more and more popular as the months go by. MSP’s like ourselves love the ability to manage remote networks for our clients. The most common use case for this is to have a unifi controller “in the cloud”. This allows all your customers devices to report back to a simple dashboard for you to manage.

With recent changes to unifi, a lot of their push seems to be to not have controllers “in the cloud” but for you to buy a controller or a pro device with the controller built in. For MSPs or tech enthusiates, this brings on unique challenges with some of the new products unifi is deploying.

For us, recently we installed a USW-Flex-Mini in a home that only had 1 ethernet port but needed more. The challenge was we couldn’t run a new cable and the home owner didn’t want to spend a lot of money as this was for his home office. After doing some research for his needs, we came to the conclusion that the flex mini was the best choice. We could power it with POE, link it back to his core switch and have his devices in his office hard wired (some of them can’t be on wifi).

This is a simple install, no hard SSH commands so we decided to send a young tech out to have his first solo install done. Within minutes, he noticed there was no SSH server on the mini and since the controller was in the cloud, it wasn’t showing up for adoption in the controller. This turned out to be an issue and I was called in to help.

Here are the steps we had to take to get the USW-Flex-Mini to adopt on a remote controller.

  1. plug the USW-Flex-Mini in a port on the main switch that is on the main LAN network
  2. hold the reset button down on the USW-Flex-Mini until the light flashes white and blue. This will put the device into recovery mode
  3. Open the controller and you should now see the device
  4. Click Adopt
  5. Once adopted, upgrade the firmware if needed.

Hope you found this useful, if you require help or are in need of consulting, please reach out to us here.

8 thoughts on “How to Adopt the Unifi USW-Flex-Mini onto a remote controller”

  1. Your answer is too simplistic and very incorrect. the USW-Flex will not find your “remote controller” using this method since it has no IP to look for. You state that the instructions are for remote controller but you are on a LAN so how does the USW find the Remote Controller?

      1. you have to adopt it to a temp controller with a 192.168 net and then set inform on the temp controller to the remote controller IP, unplug from temp and then plug to the primary. it’s a huge pita

          1. A video isn’t needed, but a clear step by step explanation is. On other unifi devices it’s easy to ssh and change the inform pointer, that’s not possible for the flex mini so there should be some other mechanism. Perhaps change DNS to point “unifi” to the remote controller?

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