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Ubiquiti Dream Machine Professional ~ First Impressions | by Teri Radichel | Cloud Safety | Apr, 2022

Preliminary try to arrange the machine, use the telephone app, and arrange a VLAN

This publish is a part of a sequence on an journey to attach a PFSense firewall and a Ubiquiti Dream Machine Professional. See the underside of the publish for all of the posts on this sequence.

That is simply me clicking round attempting to arrange a Dream Machine Professional. If you’d like somebody to click on on each unsuitable button in your UI that will be me. I like issues to be intuitive and have little persistence in the case of complicated consumer interfaces. I believe that’s the reason I prefer to construct quite simple and intuitive consumer interfaces that align with how somebody is attempting to realize a process in an software.

That’s how I outlined back-office banking purposes. In a single case I sat down with the customers and watched them work on the prevailing software, the place they took plenty of steps to do easy issues, the place issues broke, and the way they resolved issues. In the long run, I added a display screen that reported errors with one click on to repair them. The supervisor of that division instructed me that was her favourite characteristic and it wasn’t within the preliminary challenge necessities. I added it as a result of it was an apparent want.

I additionally like zero belief networks. I solely need to permit what’s required. So, that confuses the matter a bit in comparison with somebody who simply fires up a tool and lets it join everywhere in the Web with none concern for the connections it makes. I’m a safety researcher. Enterprise individuals and residential customers might decide to belief the corporate. I prefer to see how issues work.

Now earlier than I am going into my confusion under, let me simply say that I like, love, love not coping with that Cloud Key anymore. Making an attempt to arrange a zero belief community with that, or attempting to arrange a controller by myself {hardware} was undesirable. I like having all the pieces in a single field. It’s a step in a greater route. Now onto the expertise I had attempting to arrange the machine behind a PFSense. (I’m not carried out — I’m ready on the help workforce as famous under and can present step-by-step particulars if and after I determine this out fully.)

Networking expertise

Earlier than I inform you about my clicky method to determining what I’m attempting to do 🙂 I need to clarify one thing. My networking expertise is different. I wouldn’t say I’m an knowledgeable in any respect on each matter associated to networking however I’ve carried out plenty of issues network-related and I assume you could possibly say I’m a community hacker (within the non-derogatory sense of the phrase) as a result of I hack round attempting to determine issues out when I’ve time. Listed here are a number of the issues I’ve carried out that included some reverse-engineering to unravel network-related issues:

  • My profession began out in networking working with telecom corporations, video conferencing that by no means labored on the primary strive from AT&T (no Zoom again then!), T1 strains, ISDN utilizing D channel switching which I needed to reverse engineer to troubleshoot a challenge (18 pages of configuration that at all times went unsuitable), body relay, cellphone administration together with cell fraud which was prevalent again then, telephone line installations, telecom budgets, and inaccurate telephone payments.
  • Ran an online server and an e-mail server out of my dwelling at one level (a really very long time in the past.)
  • Ran an e-commerce firm and had a rack in a co-location facility and later used managed internet hosting. I needed to take care of some networking there however I employed others to really implement the bodily networking as much as the purpose of the servers for probably the most half. I had a Cisco-certified community engineer stroll me by way of the configuration of a load balancer after I ran an online software that wanted extra capability.
  • Confronted a knowledge breach by myself servers at that firm and needed to study extra about VPNs and firewalls at that time. Networking acquired me into cybersecurity. I turned a fan of zero belief networking. I instructed the internet hosting firm I wished to dam outbound firewall site visitors I didn’t want they usually instructed me nobody does that. I did. Now everybody does.
  • Labored on the Capital One cloud engineering, cloud networking, and safety groups. I arrange community proxies and helped design and deploy networking for over 11,000 builders rolling out purposes to AWS. I helped implement subnets, safety teams, routes, peering, VPNs, gateways, and networking for AD servers on AWS with a really advanced forest that exceeded cloud community limitations, HSMs, DNS, bastion hosts, and cloud proxies to beat transitive peering limitations (watch out with this one) ~ amongst different issues. I mentioned the best way to implement Transit Networks to place all of your safety home equipment in a single VPC with AWS — an concept I had and spoke about previous to transit VPCs changing into a factor the best way they’re now on AWS. I perceive cloud networking fairly effectively and supply consulting on that.
  • Have quite a few safety certifications that concerned dissecting packets and superior pentesting on Cisco units and VLAN trunk ports and protocols amongst different issues however I don’t use it a lot on cloud penetration checks. I’m going to be reviewing all that with this new community setup although I’m solely utilizing one Cisco machine proper now. The UDM and PFSense help the spanning tree protocol (STP).
  • Labored for a safety vendor that creates a community safety equipment — primarily a firewall with a bunch of different parts baked into one field. I architected a cloud answer for his or her firewalls everywhere in the world to connect with AWS. I acquired a bit of tripped up on the routing when first connecting that to the cloud. I additionally present perception on the automated deployment of these units in cloud environments. I acquired my workforce to troubleshoot with the accountable workforce why that machine didn’t work correctly with an AWS VPN configuration.

So whenever you learn this publish, when you’ve got carried out plenty of networking, you would possibly suppose I don’t know what I’m doing as a result of I’m clicking round on issues and don’t know sure particulars a couple of specific machine. Nonetheless, I determine issues out as I am going and as I would like to unravel a sure drawback. I work not solely in networking however have 25 years of software program growth expertise and do pentesting and cybersecurity. My aim is at all times to unravel a specific drawback and proper now my drawback is that I need to arrange a VLAN throughout a PFSense (particularly a Netgate machine with an built-in swap) and a UDM Professional.

I attempted to arrange VLANS between the PFSense and a Cisco swap prior to now. I by no means fairly acquired that working and ran out of time as a result of I’m at all times so busy! I would strive that once more as effectively. I’ve resolved some points I had again then with the PFSense VLANs and fairly completely happy about that. However in the case of connecting the UDM nonetheless understanding a couple of glitches.

The documentation from distributors, particularly when it’s essential join completely different manufacturers or need to arrange zero-trust networking appears to be incomplete and onerous to seek out. Perhaps a few of these posts will assist another person get issues carried out extra rapidly.

For now, listed here are my first impressions of the Ubiquiti Dream Machine whereas attempting to realize my aims.


I learn some posts in newsgroups saying the UDM Professional has no energy over ethernet (POE) so I purchased a POE swap to go along with it. I suppose I ought to have carried out extra homework however I wished to strive that out anyway. I’ll share a video later I’ve been having a look at after I get into the particular directions. However after I purchased the machine I noticed a discussion board publish that claims half the ports are POE and one other press launch in 2021 displaying that POE ports had been alleged to be coming quickly. The photograph of the machine had lightning bolts on the ports. Mine doesn’t.

On this UDM Professional datasheet I see a diagram displaying the swap has POE however the UDM Professional doesn’t:

Perhaps I’ll simply plug one thing in and see. One publish stated ports 5–8 are POE.

Out of the field directions

The out of the field documentation is brief and appears like IKEA directions. You get icons and just about no phrases. I assume that is geared toward individuals who don’t perceive networking and are utilizing the default configuration and permitting issues to only connect with anything on the Web. They’ve a pleasant video displaying a fast setup in a couple of minutes. In fact, that’s when you might have the machine uncovered on to the Web and permit all site visitors. I’m attempting to examine the site visitors and permit what’s required as I am going.

I discover the IKEA directions to be a bit missing, personally. I want to see an inventory of domains or CIDRs, ports, and protocols that explains what the machine connects to and that are required. I’d additionally like directions for offline setup.

I’m not certain that the diagram for wiring the UDM to the Swap I acquired with the swap printed on paper didn’t match the directions I acquired after I clicked on the QR code. It appeared like completely different ports had been linked in every case. Additionally, it reveals the cables plugged into the non-ethernet ports on the facet of the field in a few alternative ways. To be sincere, I’m not accustomed to that kind of jack for this cable, however I believe I needed to get particular cables prior to now for one thing else like this. Is that this associated to a VLAN trunk port?

If I wanted a particular cable to attach these two issues I want I had been knowledgeable at checkout. I do know plenty of long-time community individuals might scoff at this, however why make it tough for newbies? I’ll determine what that cable is and if I need to use it or not. Don’t fear.

I additionally learn that I can run with out it by connecting two ethernet ports on every machine. I did strive that out however the adoption failed. I’m taking a step again to overview the aim of these further ports. Personally, I like to grasp how issues work as a substitute of simply plugging issues in and guessing. I’d prefer to know my choices and what answer finest meets my wants.

Cellphone App

The telephone software just about by no means labored for me. I don’t know if that’s as a result of I used to be blocking some community site visitors as a result of I used to be working this all behind a firewall or what.

To begin with, in case you don’t care about what your machine is connecting to on the Web, you may simply observe these tremendous easy directions:

It appears very easy in that case. In fact, in my quest to grasp the small print I need to make my life tough.

I began the UDM with no community connectivity in any respect. In some unspecified time in the future throughout this course of when all community connectivity was failing, I used to be capable of get an choice for an offline setup. I went by way of the method and after a number of tries, as a result of the app saved disconnecting and I needed to begin over, I acquired by way of the method. I skipped the firmware replace and the pace check, the latter of which by no means labored for me, and acquired the inexperienced checkmark on the finish lastly and the “ding!” indicating success.

Once I regarded on the telephone app I noticed two Ubiquiti units as a substitute of 1. Neither of them, after I clicked on them, allowed me to do any kind of configuration. I reported this subject to Ubiquiti. I observed that an replace got here out within the app retailer lately to repair the difficulty with two units displaying up in order that’s good! Nonetheless, I used to be by no means capable of even get a tool to point out up in any respect after that time.

What I did subsequent was begin to permit connectivity. First I enabled DNS connectivity however I observed the machine was connecting to every kind of DNS servers and never those my community permits. I want that configuration of DNS servers was an choice throughout the setup steps. (And on each different IoT machine!)

Later I found out the best way to get the machine to solely use my DNS servers. There are different DNS choices you may configure elsewhere I’ll clarify later. I might see the UDM attempting to ping and entry CloudFlare default DNS servers ( and Google DNS ( That created plenty of pointless noise in my logs if I might simply specify the right DNS servers within the setup course of. The identical goes for NTP.

Subsequent, I began to reverse-engineer which domains the machine was attempting to connect with as I defined in my final publish. I added the domains as defined there so the machine might join by way of my PFSense to these domains. Nonetheless, I had solely plugged a cable from a port on the PFSense to the WAN port on the UDM.

At this level, it appeared just like the site visitors was getting out to the Web however upon doing a packet seize inspection the return site visitors was not reaching the UDM. I believe this has one thing to do with NAT and would like to dig into these particulars however I noticed a video displaying that I additionally want to attach a cable from the UDM LAN to a LAN port on the PFSense. That allowed the UDM to achieve the Web.

One odd factor right here is that possibly as a result of the PFSense is stateless, it by no means confirmed the blocked return site visitors within the firewall logs. The one approach I might see that was by doing a packet seize as defined within the earlier publish. Then I might see the small print of the request and response site visitors. This request for a little bit of enchancment can be directed at PFSense not Ubiquiti. Make it simpler to see that drawback.

As soon as I began permitting site visitors to the Web for the UDM and going by way of the setup course of I might by no means get again to the offline setup. It might be good if Ubiquiti would offer you that choice. The offline setup means that you can set an area consumer title and password as a substitute of storing it within the cloud.

I wished to check out a number of the cloud companies anyway so finally I put in my consumer title and password to attach. At that time, I couldn’t set an area consumer title and password even after resetting the UDM, which I needed to do quite a few instances earlier than I acquired issues midway working. (Once more, in case you simply let all the pieces connect with the Web you possible gained’t have these issues.)

I can’t bear in mind at what level the app lastly acquired me to the inexperienced checkmark once more and the “Ding!” sound indicating success, however it might have been after I resolved the NAT subject with the second cable. Nonetheless, the machine by no means confirmed up in my telephone app. I reset all the pieces a number of instances.

I used to be capable of carry out the firmware replace, however I might by no means run the pace check. It nonetheless doesn’t work within the UDM UI. Undecided what’s unsuitable there so have to maintain researching that later.

Lastly, I noticed I might simply plug in a laptop computer on to the UDM and get to the UI (Duh, I do know.) I acquired the UDM console however I couldn’t log in for some motive. I attempted resetting my cloud password. I attempted the native password I had set on the machine and the cloud consumer title and password. Nothing would work.

One factor I’m undecided of pondering again is that if there are separate consumer names and passwords for the discussion board (which I haven’t used), help, and the UDM console. That will be complicated. However I wrote down the consumer title and password I used after I created an account within the app so was fairly certain I used to be utilizing the right one.

I saved inspecting the site visitors to see if something was blocked and adjusting my firewall guidelines to permit the suitable site visitors. I can’t bear in mind if I allowed one thing new which may have triggered this, however the subsequent day after I fired all the pieces up and presumably reset the machine once more with the very same steps, I used to be capable of log in. I don’t know precisely however from that time ahead I’ve been capable of log in utilizing an area connection.

The Ubiquiti UI is each very fairly and really complicated

After watching some movies I wished to arrange a VLAN on the UDM. I researched many movies and weblog posts on connecting a PFSense and a UDM. There are numerous methods to configure this. I knew one particular person was at a display screen the place he might arrange a VLAN-only community and I wished to get to that. In some unspecified time in the future, help instructed me so as to add a VLAN tag to a selected port to resolve one other subject. I’ll clarify all that in a separate publish however for now, I need to clarify that I’ve already carried out each these issues.

Right here’s my expertise even after going by way of this as soon as attempting to recollect the best way to do it a second time. I wished so as to add the VLAN Tag to a second port to see if that resolves an issue I’m having.

Once I log in, I see a community icon in the course of the display screen so, after all, I click on on it. I get to a generic community dashboard. That’s good. I need to edit my VLANs. The place ought to I am going subsequent?

Once I click on on the machine icon on the facet of the house display screen after which click on on the UDM Professional IP deal with I get to an enormous “Community” icon in the course of a principally empty display screen. It’s the identical display screen I acquired after I logged in. So after all, clicking on the community icon takes me again to the generic community dashboard.

I’d anticipate after I click on on the IP deal with for the UDM Professional that I’d get one thing particular to the UDM Professional configuration or no less than one thing particular to that machine alone. This appears to be a generic community dashboard.

I clicked again into units, then the UDM Professional, and see “Handle Settings” on the backside underneath the community icon. It appears to me that “Handle Settings” must be entrance and middle if I click on on the IP or skip that click on altogether. Go straight to handle settings for the UDM Professional.

Steve Jobs was a grasp at conserving issues apparent. I’ve written earlier than about how I acquired a Microsoft telephone prior to now and it took me 4 clicks to get to the display screen the place I might dial the telephone. Actually? I walked into the shop and stated present me the best way to make a name on an iPhone. There’s a telephone icon on the primary display screen. You click on and the keypad comes up. I stated, “I’ll take it.” The Microsoft telephone went within the trash.

OK, so I am going again to the units display screen and click on on “Handle settings.” From right here I get to a display screen that claims verify for updates and reveals efficiency stats. The replace is necessary and I like that it’s entrance and middle. Nonetheless, the efficiency stats don’t have anything to do with altering settings.

On the facet, I see Normal, Functions, Areas, and Superior.

Normal is the display screen I’m on after clicking by way of and it has no settings apart from “replace.” I’m attempting to arrange networking and VLANs on the UDM. so this display screen isn’t actually useful for my functions. I do like that the flexibility to see the model and replace is entrance and middle. However possibly that ought to present up on the primary display screen you see whenever you click on on the machine just like the PFSense dashboard.

Functions reveals me Community, Defend, Entry, and Speak.

  • The Community icon doesn’t do something.
  • The Defend icon is for safety units or cameras I believe. You’ll be able to verify for an replace or begin the Defend app, I assume.
  • Entry I believe is for a doorbell or door safety. I don’t know I haven’t regarded into that but.
  • Speak is for telephones. It says beta and has a greyed-out verify for replace button and three dots that maintain blinking prefer it’s attempting to connect with one thing. Perhaps the stun port I blocked as defined in my final publish.

I didn’t purchase any of these units thus far I’m solely taken with my community configuration in the intervening time after I’m simply attempting to get arrange and linked to VLANs. Later I need to arrange WiFi. I don’t perceive why this community icon doesn’t go to the identical place as all the opposite comparable community icons.

Once I click on on Areas it simply spins. I suppose it’s attempting to connect with a site title I haven’t allowed but and so it will probably’t do no matter it’s alleged to do. That’s not what I’m on the lookout for anyway.

Superior has a bunch of settings like SSH, distant entry from, automated updates, restart, energy off, manufacturing facility reset, and obtain help file. I’m not likely certain if these are superior however none of those are what I would like.

At this level, I’m clicking round attempting to determine the best way to get again to the primary display screen. It’s not apparent. I’ve studied each promoting layouts and UI design. A great UI ought to have a button to get again to the place to begin or a menu that can take you there in a constant location on each display screen.

I’m wanting on the left as a result of that’s the place the menu and all of the objects are however I discover a grid of dots on the higher proper. That is one other complicated design alternative by plenty of purposes however don’t get me began on that. The dots present me a popup menu with an icon and hyperlink to the machine configuration I’m presently . I suppose that will be extra helpful if I had extra units arrange. It additionally reveals a Community icon which takes me again to the community dashboard with some efficiency data.

Since handle settings related to the UDM Professional IP deal with had a gear icon, I click on the gear icon on the underside left of the menu on the primary dashboard. Lastly. There I see WiFi, Networks, Safety, Web, System Settings, and Superior Options.

I bear in mind I arrange a VLAN-only community underneath Networks so I click on on it simply to substantiate. At this level, the display screen doesn’t work. It labored earlier than so I’m undecided what’s going on. It’s simply spinning with the bar on the prime flashing a blue line throughout it. Up there it says “Not seeing all the pieces? Go to Basic Settings.” I used to be within the beta UI I believe.

I click on on Basic Settings. The blue line goes away. I see a bunch of fascinating settings and a pleasant menu bar on the left. Thanks. A lot. Higher than these little icons. So many individuals on-line are giving this similar suggestions in weblog posts and movies. They’re utilizing the outdated UI, so possibly it’ll change again. I’m new to all of this and I agree so it’s not like I’m simply used to the outdated UI. The brand new one is extraordinarily unintuitive.

One of many choices on the left is Networks. Bear in mind what I stated earlier about making a telephone name? Why does it take me so many clicks to get to the community settings — on a community equipment? Ah sure, there’s my VLAN-only community that I beforehand created. Woohoo! However the place did I made that change to assign my VLAN ID to a port?

I click on on Routing & Firewall. Oh, that’s fascinating. WAN In has two guidelines:

LAN in has a rule:

  • Enable all on the default CIDR vary.

Lan out has a rule:

  • Enable all on the default CIDR vary.

So what meaning is that in case you set this up instantly linked to the Web all site visitors is allowed by default. If you wish to tighten these guidelines up you’ll have to do it after you configure the machine and after it connects to the Web except you block all community connectivity to get the telephone app to point out you the offline choice or undergo the hoops I did to solely permit the required site visitors to the required domains. Fascinating, however not what I’m on the lookout for at this level.

After clicking on a bunch of issues I discovered it. Perhaps this is smart to networking people who’re accustomed to the time period “Profiles” however I used to be on the lookout for ports or VLANs. Anyway right here’s how I acquired to the place the place I can set a VLAN tag on a selected port.

Profiles > Swap Ports > Add New Port Profile

I believe the one actual actionable recommendation I’ve gotten from the Ubiquiti help workforce might have been to arrange a VLAN tag on a selected LAN port. I’ve resolved a lot of the points myself, however they did present me with that very helpful piece of data, however I nonetheless should be doing one thing unsuitable since a laptop computer plugged into the port with the VLAN assigned doesn’t get an IP deal with from the PFSense DHCP server. I might have gone again and regarded on the e-mail for the way they instructed me to get to that display screen, however I figured I wouldn’t want that since I’d already carried out it as soon as. I’m undecided that is the right display screen.

What’s fascinating right here is that I can see the profile I created beforehand, however not edit it. Perhaps this was not really the display screen I’m looking for. I used to be capable of really assign a VLAN tag to a bodily port on the UDM. I don’t see that right here regardless that the merchandise I clicked says “Swap Ports.”

I hand over. I’m going to have to return to that e-mail to determine the place that setting was the place I might say “Port X on the bodily machine must be assigned to VLAN Y.” It’s in that e-mail I’ve to return and take a look at and I’ll publish a walkthrough as soon as I get this all working with screenshots.

Edit: I went again to the e-mail and found out that you must click on on the machine, however not on the IP deal with, and a facet window pops up on the proper. To begin with, that’s in no way intuitive. Secondly, the issue with that facet window is that it covers up different issues such because the edit choices on the facet of some lists. It wasn’t initially clear the best way to shut it. Lastly, it is a fully completely different structure and now I've issues on the proper and left and prime and far and wide. I would favor a single listing down the left hand facet with all of the choices so I can simply discover them. All of the performance for VLANs must be accessible in a single place or no less than one group. (And by the best way, I discover some issues associated to PFSense and particularly the SG3100 to have a few of this similar confusion however not fairly this disjointed.)As soon as that pop-up comes up there are some little icons on the prime. You click on considered one of them for ports and there, lastly, I might edit the VLAN for a selected port. And that is the place I found that most likely I made a mistake and assigned the VLAN to the unsuitable port, however I nonetheless have a couple of questions out to help. I ought to be capable of publish the opposite weblog posts shortly with the complete configuration!

Within the meantime, I clicked on “Attempt new settings” once more to see the beta model I used to be earlier than. Beneath networks, my VLAN doesn’t exist. I see WAN and LAN solely in two separate locations. WAN is related to “Web” which solely confuses the matter. Why not listing all of the Interfaces in a single place and name them WAN and LAN like everybody in networking is used to seeing?

Anyway, that’s all I’ve time for in the present day. Apologize for typos. I’ve an excessive amount of work proper now. At the moment, I’ve found out the PFSense configuration I would like which is fairly cool and one thing I hadn’t but found out so I’ll most likely write about that subsequent.

I’m nonetheless attempting to determine the best way to let a bunch on the UDM that’s in a VLAN configured on PFSense to achieve the Web the best way I’ve arrange my PFSense (which isn’t precisely just like the movies the place persons are utilizing PFSense however no built-in swap with VLANs enabled). I’ve a request out to the help workforce and ready to listen to again. They need screenshots and help dumps however I’ve actually solely modified two settings since I arrange the machine:

  1. I configured the Community solely VLAN.
  2. I adopted their e-mail directions so as to add that VLAN ID to the port which my laptop computer is plugged into on the UDM.

I’ll maintain tinkering with it and hope to supply an entire working situation in a future publish, together with another issues I’m hoping to perform however that is my first impression. I understand I’m most likely not the everyday consumer!

Teri Radichel — Observe me @teriradichel

© 2nd Sight Lab 2022

Extra on this sequence on the safety of community safety home equipment and community linked units:

To be continued…


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