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Switching guide: Lightweight vs Autonomous firmware for Cisco APs

Following are the three type of IOS available & need to download the correct type before starting the conversion process.
  • k9w7 – Cisco autonomous IOS firmware
  • rcvk9w8 – Cisco lightweight recovery image  firmware– this is factory installed on lightweight APs, unless a “mesh” image is specified; it lacks radio firmware
  • k9w8 – Cisco full lightweight IOS firmware (this is what is bundled in the WLC .aes image, and is factory installed on “mesh” APs)
In our case we require k9w7 for Autonomous conversion. More specifically c1140-k9w7-tar.124-25d.JA.tar as my AP is 1142.

To convert Lightweight AP to Autonomous AP, need to have PC directly connected to AP’s ethernet port. If you are powering AP from the switch (i.e use PoE) then PC & AP needs to be in two switch ports in the same vlan. In my example PC is & AP is
Console into the access point & do the following configurations.

AP5475.d0f5.2ee7#sh ip int brief
Interface                  IP-Address      OK? Method Status                Protocol
Dot11Radio0                unassigned      NO  unset  up                    up      
Dot11Radio1                unassigned      NO  unset  up                    up      
GigabitEthernet0           unassigned      YES DHCP   up                  up  

AP5475.d0f5.2ee7#debug capwap console cli   <- without this line LWAP not accepting the conf t
AP5475.d0f5.2ee7#conf t
AP5475.d0f5.2ee7(config)#ip default-gateway
AP5475.d0f5.2ee7(config)#int g0
AP5475.d0f5.2ee7(config-if)#ip address
AP5475.d0f5.2ee7(config-if)#no sh

Type escape sequence to abort.
Sending 5, 100-byte ICMP Echos to, timeout is 2 seconds: !!!!!

AP5475.d0f5.2ee7#archive download-sw /force-reload /overwrite tftp://
"examining image...
 Loading c1140-k9w7-tar.124-25d.JA.tar from (via GigabitEthernet0): !
 extracting info (283 bytes)
 Image info:
     Version Suffix: k9w7-.124-25d.JA ...................."

Once conversion process is over, you can verify the right image is on your access point.

  Password:  <-- default password is Cisco
  ap#sh version
  Cisco IOS Software, C1140 Software (C1140-K9W7-M), Version 12.4(25d)JA, RELEASE SOFTWARE (fc1)
  Technical Support:
  Copyright (c) 1986-2010 by Cisco Systems, Inc.
  Compiled Thu 09-Dec-10 15:24 by prod_rel_team
ROM: Bootstrap program is C1140 boot loader
  BOOTLDR: C1140 Boot Loader (C1140-BOOT-M) Version 12.4(18a)JA3, RELEASE SOFTWARE (fc1)
ap uptime is 0 minutes
  System returned to ROM by reload
  System image file is "flash:/c1140-k9w7-mx.124-25d.JA/c1140-k9w7-mx.124-25d.JA"

For the LWAP conversion, use the recovery image ( e.g  c1140-rcvk9w8-tar.124-25d.JAL.tar). We can use the same command on the autonomous AP priviledge mode.

AP5475.d0f5.2ee7#archive download-sw /force-reload /overwrite tftp://

To download lightweight and autonomous firmware please go to this link 

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