UniFi – New Feature Showcase: Debugging Metrics

As the UniFi Controller has evolved, it has been our goal to make it easy for administrators to get the tools they need to make their UniFi network perform as it should. In UniFi Controller version 5.6.x, we have introduced an additional statistics dashboard- Debugging Metrics. This new view presents administrators with a collection of data that we think should make it easier to identify and fix common performance issues.

To see Debugging Metrics, open your UniFi controller, go to Statistics, then choose “Debugging Metrics” from the dropdown list.

Included in Debugging Metrics are the following data tables:

  • Most Active APs
  • Retries
  • Channel Utilization
  • Top Clients
  • Top Interference
  • Most Active Clients
  • Longest Connected Clients
  • Top Memory Usage
  • Top CPU Usage

Each category contains a table that summarizes the data and can be shown for either 2.4GHz band or 5GHz band. All that is requires to use this table are access points, though this feature can be supplemented with additional helpful data with the use of a UniFi Security Gateway and UniFi Switch.

Using Debugging Metrics

Let’s take a look at how a UniFi Administrator could make use of this feature. As an example, we’ll use one of the tables shown in Debugging Metrics, Most Active APs to explain what this graph can tell us and what to do if the data points to an issue:

In this view we see the Access Points that are sending/receiving the most traffic on the site. Tx indicates packets transmitted, and Rx indicates packets received by each Access Point. Excessive traffic on an AP can cause clients connected via this AP to have poorer performance. Whenever possible, it’s good to keep traffic loads reasonably balanced across APs.

Common Causes/How to Fix

  • AP Placement/Density– If one AP seems to be handling more traffic than all other access points, consider moving other APs closer, or adding another AP to ease the burden on the AP.
  • Problematic Clients– Abnormally high traffic on an AP from one or few individual client devices may point to clients using the network for things that they shouldn’t like torrenting, excessive media downloads, downloading large applications, etc. Alternatively, it could also point to clients that may be seeking to intentionally bring down or negatively impact your network. When this occurs in environments with a USG deployed, use Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to find out what kind of traffic these clients are using and identify violations of your network terms of use. Problematic clients can be added to a user group in UniFi that caps bandwidth use. Admins also can ban these users from the wireless network altogether.
  • Poor Configuration on AP– If an AP is set to broadcast too strongly, and nearby APs are set to broadcast at lower levels, one AP can attract client devices with better signal strength but fail to deliver optimal Wi-Fi experience. To fix this, make sure all nearby devices are sharing the load with the over-active AP, and try lowering Tx power on the active AP/raising that of the nearby less active APs.

This is but one example of how debugging metrics can be used to troubleshoot and fix network issues. For suggestions on how to use all of the Debugging Metrics in the UniFi controller, check out our full KB article here.

To try this feature out, check out our UniFi Simulator at https://demo.ubnt.com