Convert Cisco Lightweight AP to Autonomous

I recently picked up two AIR-LAP1142N access points from eBay that had previously been used with a Cisco Wireless LAN controller. As such they were configured with CAPWAP and do allow for independent operation. Cisco access points have three different image types available:

  • Lightweight (Files matching cXXX->k9w8.tar.xxx)
  • Lightweight Recovery (Files matching cXXX-rcvk9w8.tar.xxx)
  • Autonomous (Files matching cXXX-k9w7.tar.xxx)

In order to use the access point without a wireless LAN controller (WLC), the Autonomous image must be installed onto the access point. Thankfully there is a process to convert a lightweight access point to an autonomous one.

  1. Connect to the AP with a serial cable, then connect the AP to a power source, be it via a POE Injector or a PoE switch. Once booted you will be able to authenticate.
    AP1234.5678.abcd>en
    Password: Cisco
    AP1234.5678.abcd#
  2. Unfortunately many of the commands you’ll want to use, such as configure terminal will be unavailable. To enable the commands you’ll need issue the following commands:
    AP1234.5678.abcd#debug capwap console cli
    CAPWAP console CLI allow/disallow debugging is on
  3. Download an autonomous image for your AP and place it on a TFTP server that is reachable from the access point. It should have obtained network address information using DHCP automatically. In the example below I’m using “c1140-k9w7-tar.152-4.JB4.tar” but this can be any suitable autonomous image.
    AP1234.5678.abcd#conf t
    Enter configuration commands, one per line.  End with CNTL/Z.
    AP1234.5678.abcd#archive download-sw /overwrite /reload tftp://TFTP SERVER/c1140-k9w7-tar.152-4.JB4.tar

    The access point will download the software and reboot into the new autonomous image. The default username and password are cisco/Cisco.

Published by

Dave Hope

Dave is a Principal Software Analyst for a UK based retirement developer, in his spare time he enjoys digital photography and rock climbing.

9 thoughts on “Convert Cisco Lightweight AP to Autonomous”

    1. Amir, does the Cisco 1700I AP already have the autonomous image in memory in order to use the capwap ap autonomous command? Or do you still need to download the image and setup the tftp server?

      Thanks

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