UniFi AP AC Lite - OpenWrt or stay with stock firmware?

I'm looking to install a single UniFi AP AC Lite which I already have, sitting unused. I just want to use its 5GHz radio w/ multiple SSIDs and VLANs and also 802.11r for quick transitions between APs (the other "AP" is actually a Netgear R7800 running OpenWRT in AP mode).

I have a few questions please:

  1. Should I stay with stock firmware or flash it to OpenWRT? For a single AP, dealing with the UniFi controller is overkill (and the mobile app is terrible just very basic settings). But that might be the true and tried firmware version that has many deployments. Not sure how well OpenWRT works on it and what version to use. The attraction of OpenWRT is that I can just use the WebUI/ssh which I'm familiar with from my R7800.

  2. I'd like to use the same SSIDs/VLANs as on my R7800, to improve coverage in a corner. Any ideas if 802.11r will work well between these 2 devices? The backhaul is wired, no mesh or repeater, though not sure if a mesh helps in any way with a wired backhaul and what I'd need to do, if it even has a chance with these 2 different devices.

  3. I assume that I want different channels, e.g. use ch 36 on the UniFi and ch 149 on the R7800. I'm also thinking of turning down the power on the UniFi, I just need some better coverage in a corner (which luckily happens to have an Ethernet drop).

Try openwrt, you can always go back to stock through tftp method. I have the AC LR and i prefer it with openwrt, i think it works better with it than with stock.

you are asking in openwrt forum if you need stay on stock or flash openwrt. i can 't believe that.
this is OPENWRT

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I'm asking for real life experiences with this device in particular, in a perhaps not common setup. It doesn't mean that OpenWRT is best for all devices that it can boot on, see Broadcom devices, for example. Or that it supports all features stock firmware can, for example hardware acceleration on some chipsets.

Which OpenWRT version do you use? Just staying with latest stable or are there useful fixes in snapshots? Does anyone maintain any optimized builds for these APs? Thanks.

I used both master and stable and performance is similar, so just try them and use the one you prefer

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What's the proper procedure to install OpenWRT on these devices? I have the latest UniFi firmware on it and it sounds like I have to downgrade it to some older version? Any hints please?

First you need to downgrade the stock firmware to a certain version within the controller (or manually with sftp and ssh) before you can even flash OpenWRT with it. You should find plenty of information about that on the net.

I use two of them with a recent master build and the new DAWN controller. The performance is great (same as stock as far i can tell) and you can use wpa3, something that Ubiquiti only implemented recently in a closed beta.

I moved them away from stock because Ubiquiti tend to release broken firmwares. I nearly bricked both of them in a recent update...

So go with a stable and you should be fine.


What kind of throughput do you get with OpenWrt? On stock without doing any NAT it can shift north of 300 Mbps, can it do the same on OpenWrt?

I believe I've seen a bit above 300Mbps in iperf tests with the client close to it, but it goes down quickly at some distance. I don't consider these to be powerful APs, more like 1 room coverage.

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