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Installing Debian 7.11 and Unifi-Video on a Ubiquity NVR

May 20, 2017

What should you do if the hard drive fails on the NVR server and you do not have a backup image? Cloning a HDD from another NVR server is not an option. The Unifi software checks the authenticity of the NVR server hardware and will not work after cloning without errors. This instruction is given at your own risk, there are no warranties. For installation you will need to have two USB flash drives.


1. Download Debian 7.11 installer from https://www.debian.org/releases/wheezy/debian-installer for amd64 platform.


2. Burn ISO with Debian 7.11 to the first USB flash drive. Use Rufus 2.15 from https://rufus.akeo.ie for burning.


3. You will also need the Realtek driver for the NIC. The driver is here: https://packages.debian.org/wheezy/all/firmware-realtek/download. It is only necessary to extract "rtl8168e-3.fw" file from the archive and copy it to the second USB flash drive.


4. Power on the NVR, tapping F11 to select the boot device, select the USB boot device from the list. Select Install (do not use the graphical installer).


5. When "Missing FW rtl_nic/rtl8168e-3.fw" error is displayed, insert the second USB flash drive (from step 3) and press Enter.


6. Follow the default installation, but turn off debian desktop environment  and make sure to select SSH option.


7. After the installation is complete and the server is rebooted log into the NVR at the SSH console.


8. In the SSH console:
    apt-get update
    apt-get upgrade
    wget https://dl.ubnt.com/firmwares/unifi-video/3.7.0/unifi-video_3.7.0~Debian7_amd64.deb
    dpkg -i unifi-video_3.7.0~Debian7_amd64.deb
    apt-get -f install
    *** note – this will install the missing items from the failed line above.
    dpkg -i unifi-video_3.7.0~Debian7_amd64.deb


9. From a workstation: https://ip-of-your-nvr:7443. Set Super User e-mail address, password & time zone.


10. To further configuring the NVR server use Webmin. In the SSH console:
    wget https://downloads.sourceforge.net/project/webadmin/webmin/1.840/webmin_1.840_all.deb
    dpkg -i webmin_1.840_all.deb
    apt-get -f install
    *** note – this will install the missing items from the failed line above.
    dpkg -i webmin_1.840_all.deb


11. Firewall configuration: with Webmin wizard close (drop) all ports on external interfaces except 22 (SSH), 10000 (Webmin), 6666, 7004, 7080, 7442, 7443, 7445, 7446, 7447.


12. For monitoring in Webmin the hard drive state (SMART and temperature) install smartmontools. In the SSH console:
    apt-get install smartmontools



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