Converting Cisco AP from LAP to Autonomous

This Post contains the instruction how to convert Cisco AP from LAP (lightweight AP) to Autonomous mode. Unfortunately the task is not so easy as logging to the AP and downloading the new image. The LAP doesn’t give you a command to downloading/uploading image. You have to use a special procedure to convert the AP to the Autonomous mode. Most of the instruction below was copied from the Cisco official guide (Cisco IOS Software Configuration Guide for Cisco Aironet Access Points)

  1. Install  the TFTP server on your PC and put it into the same LAN with your AP. Rename the IOS image for”default” name (for example:  c1100-k9w7-tar.default) and put it into your TFTP server
  2. The PC you intend to use must be configured with a static IP address in the range of to
  3. Disconnect power from the AP
  4. Press and hold the MODE and connect the power to the AP. Hold the MODE button until the status LED turns red (approximately 20 to 30 seconds), and release the MODE button.
  5. Your AP will connect to the TFTP server, download and install the default IOS. When process is finished the AP reboots as indicated by all LEDs turning green followed by the Status LED blinking green.
  6. Connect to the AP and configure it.

Note: the same procedure can be used to recover the AP from IOS failure (for example if AP cannot boot from any image).


The mentioned solution require pressing the button on the AP. It’s very often that AP installed in places with hard access (for example on the high ceiling). Is there any solution to upload a new IOS on the LAP (with limited command set)? Actually there is a command which you can use to activate additional commands on the LAP:

AP1111.2222.3333#debug capwap console cli
CAPWAP console CLI allow/disallow debugging is on

or on the older AP:

AP1111.2222.3333#debug lwapp console cli
LWAPP console CLI allow/disallow debugging is on

Now you should be able to run standard archive command to upload new IOS. You can read more about this option on the following site (which considers some additional aspects):

Unfortunately I’ve tested that it doesn’t work on every AP/IOS version.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *