Will this slightly wonky Unifi topology work?

Hi! I’m new here!

I have a client with a large home/office needing a networking upgrade. Currently, there’s a FIOS gateway in the basement along with a 16 port Trendnet switch. I’m not certain if the FIOS is doing any routing, but there are also several other routers (Orbi, DLink) and bridged APs (Buffalo (yuck)) through the space. I think I want to go UniFi all over and replace the Trendnet with a 16 port Unifi Lite switch and put a UDM on the first floor, replacing the Orbi. Would it matter, from a topology standpoint, if the Lite Switch is not directly downstream of the UDM? So it would go FIOS Gateway → UDM AND Switch as opposed to FIOS → UDM → Switch. I might not HAVE to do the former, but I’m curious if it SHOULD work in that configuration.


Essentially, the UDM has a built in Unifi controller which is what adopts the subsidiary Unifi devices. That controller I believe has a dedicated IP separate from the gateway address of the UDM itself (I’m guessing, can’t confirm since I’ve never used a UDM). Because of how the UDM is setup, it’s easiest to have your other Unifi devices plugged into one of the UDM switch ports, or if you plug one of your switches into the UDM’s switch ports and plug your unifi devices into that.

Aside from that, if you had to have your UDM and Unifi devices plugged into ports on the FIOS gateway I believe you can ssh into the devices and hard code the ip of the unifi controller. I’m guessing there are also alternate ways to adopt unifi devices in a different ip subnet than the controller into the controller itself, but that would probably be beyond the scope of what you’re trying to achieve.

I would personally just buy something like a USG and a couple Unifi APs and buy something like a raspberry pi to host the unifi controller on. Give you better performance and less complexity.

The UDM and controller is on the same IP as the gateway. I really don’t recommend any of the UniF routing equipment as it is very limited. Their switches and access points are fine.

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Yeah… that’s my general thought as well. Do you have a strong opinion about the EdgeRouter 4 vs X? And have you found a “best” solution for dealing with this kind of setup where there’s a necessary FIOS Gateway for which you can’t turn off DHCP? I should be able to come out of the ONT into the Edge, then on to the Gateway and also to a new switch, right?

We don’t really use EdgeRouter that much, pfsense has way more features which is why we keep recommending it.

Never used FIOS but from whet I’ve seen on the web, it can be put into bridge mode. Assuming that is correct, you’d want:

FIOS (in bridge mode)

  • pfSense (on whatever hardware)
    • your switch
      • your access points (whatever they are)

Nothing else in there acting as gateway, router, firewall, DHCP server, etc.

Substitute in whatever particular parts, whether Unifi or something else.