Reztek Systems

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NetworkingUbiquiti Networks

Do Vendors Value Their Customers?

The past few days have been spent troubleshooting some anomalies in the software and networking space. Shaun Nichols at The Register has posted a solid summary of Ubiquiti Networks’ arbitrary decision to turn their customers into a hotbed of telemetry data. The following community post from eight days ago clearly demonstrates a lack of planning and customer engagement that never manifested prior to going live with this change. The default of opt-in without an option within the controller to opt-out is the icing on the proverbial cake. What started with a forum redesign, which was maligned by the majority of the customer base, has evolved into continued disrespect for the company’s customers. While they claim that blocking traffic going to will provide a workaround until the necessary elements are implemented within the controller, the fact that these changes were implemented in a “do first and ask for forgiveness later” manner highlights how little the customer base and associated relationships mean to Ubiquiti.

The extensive troubleshooting performed on our Unifi-powered network had a repeated pattern of failure during the evaluation of the 4.0.66 firmware. Approximately fifty minutes into every hour, there was a complete loss of external connectivity for a two to three minute window. Researching the behavior and available information initially led us down a path of confirming that our ISP had not set the DHCP lease renewal process too aggressively for their devices. Confirmation that this was not the root cause of the behavior was provided yesterday afternoon.

Ultimately, further analysis of logs within the gateway finally bore fruit; the gateway was attempting and failing to perform a speed test on an hourly basis. Within the controller, the automatic execution of a speed test had always been disabled. Newly introduced errata, either in the latest controller or the newest firmware for the access point and switches, attempted to execute a speed test that never concluded. Adjusting the echo server from to under the Advanced section of the device’s management interface within the controller was paired with an enablement/disablement cycle of the speed test and a force provision to ensure it properly terminated.

Companies benefit from the repeat business from satisfied customers. Failing the basics of Communication 101 is not a good look.

Update (11/12/2019): The fine folks at Ubiquiti have published firmware which undoes the telemetry implementation for the time being. While the initial approach riled some feathers, the provided update is a good start with respect to restoring trust with customers. It’s commendable that they reversed course and listened to the concerns raised within the community.

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