I recently picked up two AIR-LAP1142N access points from eBay that had previously been used with a Cisco Wireless LAN controller. As such the options to configure for independent operation were very limited. 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, 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 switch. Once booted you will be able to authenticate.

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