Adding Ubiquiti UniFi AP PRO hardware to an existing mesh

  • Someone who relocated office recently was so kind to donate their three Ubiquity UniFi AP PRO units to me while they upgraded to a Ruckus system in their new office.
  • Knowing that Ubiquity hardware are famous for the ease which you can replace the vendor's proprietary firmware with OpenWrt I was very eager to see how these dual radio nodes will live along the nodes from other hardware vendors in my existing mesh.
  • I must admit that the whole exercise turned out to be much smoother and faster than I envisioned.
  • Read on to follow my quick journey…

Flashing the firmware onto the Ubiquiti UniFi AP PRO

Here is the steps to take when flashing the MESHdesk firmware onto the Ubiquiti hardware.

Get the flash utility

Get the MESHdesk firmware image

Setting the IP Address of the Windows machine

  • When the Ubiquiti is in TFTP flash mode it will run a small TFTP server that listens on on the hardware.
  • In order for our Windows machine to transfer the firmware to the Ubiquiti we will assign the IP of to the LAN port of the machine.

Put the Ubiquity hardware in TFTP flash mode

  • In order to put the Ubiquity hardware in TFTP flash mode you simply have to push the reset button down and keep it down while powering the hardware up.
  • After 15-25 seconds it will show you it is in TFPT flash mode by flashing the LEDs in a rotating fashion (White, Blue and then off etc)
  • Now you can fire up the tftp2.exe utility; select the file and flash it onto the device.
  • The whole flash process is magnitudes faster when comparing to the time it takes on the Picostation for instance.
  • As soon as the white LED stopped flashing rapidly you can disconnect the power and do to the next steps:
    • Point the mesh node to the MESHdesk server
    • Add the mesh node to the existing mesh network

Point mesh node to the MESHdesk server

Add the mesh nodes to the existing mesh network

  • Here is a bit of a heads-up. The Ubiquiti UniFi AP PRO are dual radio units so when we add them; we need to specify which radio we want to use and for what.
  • Here is also a second heads-up. On the Ubiquiti UniFi AP PRO we have the 5G radio as Radio0 and the 2.4G radio as Radio1. This is different from the default
  • See the following screenshot:

The results of our work

  • Now that the nodes are pointing to our MESHdesk controller and the MESHdesk controller knows about our nodes we have many vendors one mesh.

Comparing hardware and prices


  • Here is a point of interest when one compare the TP-Link WDR3500 to the Ubiquiti UniFi AP PRO.
  • Hardware wise they seem to be pretty much the same. (Aside from the 3dBm higher power on the radios of the Ubiquiti)
Item TP-Link WDR3500 UniFi AP PRO Comment
2.4G radio Yes (21dBm) Yes (24dBm) Radio0 on the WDR3500 and Radio1 on the AP Pro
5G radio Yes (14dBm) Yes (17dBm) Radio1 on the WDR3500 and Radio0 on the AP PRO
Chip set Atheros AR9344 Rev2 Atheros AR9344 Rev2
Processor MIPS 74Kc V4.12 278.93 MIPS 74Kc V4.12 278.93
RAM 128M 128M
POE NO Yes 48Volt POE
External antenna Yes No
Ethernet Ports 2 1
Ethernet Sockets 5 2
  • Price
  • Note the listed price from Scoop (R2,495.00) is excluding VAT thus with VAT which is 14% we go up to R2844.30.
  • The price from Scoop also is a dealer price and exclude delivery.
  • The Takealot price include free delivery to your door.


The cost of the Ubiquiti UniFi PRO AP is at least four times higher than that of the TP-Link WDR3500 while offering more or less the same hardware.