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Before converting LWAP to Autonomous need to understand the type of OS image running on these platforms. I found following blog post is very useful to summarize the type of IOS & understanding its naming convention.


Following are the three type of IOS available & need to download the correct type before starting the conversion process.

  • k9w7 – autonomous IOS
  • k9w8 – full lightweight IOS (this is what is bundled in the WLC .aes image, and is factory installed on “mesh” APs)
  • rcvk9w8 – lightweight recovery image – this is factory installed on lightweight APs, unless a “mesh” image is specified; it lacks radio firmware

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: http://www.cisco.com/techsupport
  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://

Following Cisco Support Community forum video demonstrate teh above process.


If you have WLC managed AP (currently registered to a WLC), then you can use WLC CLI command to convert that to Autonomous. In below example I have IW3702 AP on my WLC

(8540-TEST) >show ap summary
AP Name Slots AP Model Ethernet MAC Location Country IP Address
IW3702 2 IW3702-2E-Z-K9 2c:d0:2d:81:a6:5c default location AU
(WLC) >config ap tftp-downgrade ? 
<TFTP Server IP addr> Enter the TFTP server's IP address

(WLC) >config ap tftp-downgrade x.x.x.x ? 
<filename> Image file name on the TFTP server

(WLC) >config ap tftp-downgrade x.x.x.x ap3g2-k9w7-tar.153-3.JE.tar ?
<Cisco AP> Enter the name of the Cisco AP.
(WLC) >config ap tftp-downgrade x.x.x.x ap3g2-k9w7-tar.153-3.JE.tar IW3702

Once issue that command given AP should download new image from your TFTP server.

Related Posts

1. AP Conversion using MODE Button
2. Multiple SSID Config on Autonomous AP
3. Autonomous AP – Wireless Bridges
4. WorkGroup Bridge – WGB Configurations
5. Autonomous AP – Repeater