Converting a Cisco AP from LWAPP to Autonomous mode

Here’s a quick walk through to get a Cisco AP – in my case an 1130AG – from a controller based  LWAPP image back to the autonomous image so it can be used as a standalone AP again.

Retrieve the latest IOS image for your AP from
Retreive TFTPD for use as your TFTP server from here
You’ll need a PC with a static IP ( for this example) to wire your AP straight into during the procedure, with the TFTP server running, all firewalls disabled and the IOS image available in the TFTP root.

Step 1: Make sure that the PC contains the access point image file (such as c1130-k9w7-tar.124-10b.JDA3.tar for an 1130 series access point) in the TFTP server folder and that the TFTP server is activated.

Step 2: Set the timeout value on the TFTP server to 30 seconds.

Step 3: On the PC where the TFTP server is located, perform these steps:

a. Disable any software firewall products, such as Windows firewall, ZoneAlarm firewall, McAffee firewall, or others.

b. Ensure all Windows files are visible. From Windows Explorer, click Tools > Folder Options > View; then uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types check box.

Step 4: Connect the PC to the access point using an Ethernet cable.

Step 5: Disconnect power from the access point.

Step 6: Press and hold MODE while you reconnect power to the access point.

Step 7: Hold the MODE button until the status LED turns red (approximately 20 to 30 seconds) and then release.

Step 8: Enable LWAPP console CLI allow/disallow debugging

#debug lwapp con cli

Step 9: Enable LWAPP ignore internal reload debugging

#debug lwapp client no-reload

Step 10: Configure IP Address on the fast ethernet interface of the AP

#conf t
(config)#interface fa0
(config-if)#ip addr

Step 11: Download the image file from the TFTP server to the AP

#archive download-sw /overwrite tftp://

Step 12: Reload the unit once the image has been written and the process reports complete.


You’ll now be running an autonomous image which you can work with.

Be Cool


26 thoughts on “Converting a Cisco AP from LWAPP to Autonomous mode”

  1. Hi,

    I have run into autonomous image, but how i can reconfigure lwapp setting? I need to hardcore WLC ip address. Hope you have idea for this.

    Thank you.

    Collin N

    1. Off the top of my head I can’t remember – I’ll see if I can dig out my docs later. In the meantime you’re aware that the WLC address is discovered via DHCP using the or A records in your local DNS zone right?
      If you’ve not got them in your local DNS – add them and that might get your round the problem you’re having?
      I’ll get back to you soon on the hardcoding Collin.

    2. you can set your dhcp server with option 44 to direct any cisco light weight access points to point to a specific WLC.

  2. Hi, do you know if it is possible to change a factory lightweight AP to an autonomous AP?
    Thanks a lot.

    1. If you’ve an AP which has a part number of AIR-LAP1130-xK9 – take not of the LAP which means LIGHTWEIGHT Access Point – as opposed to AIR-AP1130-x-K9 then you won’t be able to host an IOS image on that AP.
      The AP’s which are autonomous from the factory can run either the IOS autonomous images or the Lightweight images. I hope that helps!

  3. Hi Paul – are you sure about that last one? I just ran thru your steps on a LAP1131AG and it did not complain… I’ll try configuring a quick SSID and report back. Thanks.

    1. Alberto,

      No I’m not 100% positive to be honest, but the many hours of research I did at the time of the article suggested this was the case.
      I’d be interested to see if you actually get the AP to become operational.
      Personally, I purchased all Autonomous AP’s for my deployment so I had the choice of LAP or Autonomous mode at my whim, the LAP models are significantly fewer on the second hand market also so they are harder to find.
      Do let us know how you get on, it would be interesting to hear your results from your work and I’ll happily amend my post to reflect your findings.

      Good Luck!

      1. Followed your instructions on an AIR-LAP1131AG-E-K9 device and have successfully set up an automonous device, without any problems.

  4. Nice article. But what to do if you do not have the chance to download the latest IOS image from How I understand it is that you need some kind of service contract with cisco, right?

    I only have 2 AIR-AP1131AG here, from a company that went banckrupt, wthey used to be run in lwapp mode, but I need them in autonomous mode.

    I have cisco serial cable, and I have the AP bootet up, and it stands at:
    Can I from that prompt make the AP into autonomous mode?

    The Ap is running C1130-RCVK9W8-M version 12.4(21a)JA2

    1. Hi Klaus,
      Yes, a SMARTnet contract is needed to be able to download particular IOS images, and as of Jan’11 you must have particular access for that product as Cisco are tightening the reigns on the access to images.
      As for the prompt and your current situation, I’m not able to help right now, I’m away from all my documents and equipment till the end of Feb on Holiday so I’ll review any posts on my return and update then. I hope you understand.
      Kind Regards

  5. can any one give me the correct IOS for Cisco1231 access point.
    Actually i am not able to revert back LWAP .

    Error:—“process_config_recovery: set IP address and config to default
    process_config_recovery: image recovery
    image_recovery: Download default IOS tar image tftp://

    examining image…tftp:// no such file or
    directory ”

    May be i have wrong IOS.

    Pls help me i am in big trouble…!!!

    1. Hi Rahul,
      Sorry but I can only refer you to Google and to for your resources. You’ll need a SMARTnet contract to get the correct image from Cisco.

  6. Thanks man this worked very well, after searching through Cisco’s horrible ass shit site I was able to jack squat. I just followed your directions and BAMM its back.

    THanks AGAIN.

  7. seeing as how im sure you posted this for people not really all that familiar with cisco products, im suprised you left out one of the most important steps…

    ** dont forget to rename the IOS image to c1130-k9w7-tar.default **

    without renaming the file, you’ll never return the AP to autonomous mode…

    and here is a copy/paste for those lazy clickers 😉

    Using the MODE Button to Return the Access Point to Autonomous Mode

    Follow these steps to return a lightweight access point to autonomous mode using the access point MODE button and a TFTP server:


    Note The access point MODE button is enabled by default, but you need to verify that the MODE button is enabled (see the “MODE Button Setting” section.



    Step 1 Set the static IP address of the PC on which your TFTP server software runs to an address between and

    Step 2 Make sure that the PC contains the access point image file (such as c1130-k9w7-tar.123-7.JA.tar for an 1130 series access point) in the TFTP server folder and that the TFTP server is activated.

    Step 3 Rename the access point image file in the TFTP server folder to c1130-k9w7-tar.default.

    Step 4 Connect the PC to the access point using a Category 5 (CAT5) Ethernet cable.

    Step 5 Disconnect power from the access point.

    Step 6 Press and hold the MODE button while you reconnect power to the access point.

    Step 7 Hold the MODE button until the Radio LED turns red (approximately 20 to 30 seconds) and then release.

    Step 8 Wait until the access point reboots, as indicated by all LEDs turning green followed by the Status LED blinking green.

    Step 9 After the access point reboots, reconfigure it using the access point GUI or the CLI.


    MODE Button Setting

    The lightweight access point MODE button is configured from your Cisco Wireless LAN Controller. Use these controller CLI commands to view and configure the MODE button:

    1) config ap rst-button enable /all

    2) config ap rst-button disable /all

    3) show ap config general

    (Where access-point-name is the name that identifies the access point on the

    1. Hi Wade,

      If you say so chap. It’s been a while since I wrote that procedure and won’t be re-visiting it for a while, so for everyone’s benefit in case that’s tripping people up, your comment is here.
      Thanks for your input, it’s much appreciated.


  8. Hello There,
    Could anyone advice or send a link on how to set time-out value on Solar wind TFTP server to 30seconds please ?

    1. Hi Dave,
      I can’t answer your question, but I’d move away from Solarwinds TFTP server if I were you. The TFTPD package by Philippe Jounin is second to none and I’ve never looked back.
      Good Luck.

  9. Currently Being Moderated
    Fail to Convert Aironet 1242 from lightweight mode back to autonomous mode

    tar -xtract tftp:// flash:

    Is giving output

    Connection Timed Out

    Pls suggest if anyone knows

  10. Hello wonder if you could help me?

    I have a 1131AG AP which i need to return to Autonomous mode
    The AP doesn’t find the IOS. I press the Mode button wait for the LED to turn red, the AP prepares itselt to get the IOS, but in the TFTP Server I can see this message: “TFTP connected from on 4/28/2012 08:41:38, binary, GET. Transmission Failed. Could not find file ‘C:\TFTP-Root\c1130-k9w7-tar.default.
    I have renamed the file and placed it in TFTP/root directory on the c drive

    I’m using SolarWinds TFTP
    Any advise would be very appreciated

    Adam Martin

    1. Try using TFTPD which is linked from the post. It sounds silly but Solarwinds TFTP has given me all sorts of trouble before.

  11. This is My IOS Command

    DIR_AP#archive download-sw /overwrite tftp://$
    examining image…
    Loading c1130-k9w7-tar.124-25d.JA.tar from (via FastEthernet0): !
    extracting info (283 bytes)
    Image info:
    Version Suffix: k9w7-.124-25d.JA
    Image Name: c1130-k9w7-mx.124-25d.JA
    Version Directory: c1130-k9w7-mx.124-25d.JA
    Ios Image Size: 5028352
    Total Image Size: 5765632
    Image Feature: WIRELESS LAN
    Image Family: C1130
    Wireless Switch Management Version:


  12. Guys,
    I have AIR-AP-1131AG-A-K9 and trying to convert it to Autonomous. I do not see an option of this command “config t”. I am not sure how can i configure IP address on the interface. I configured this command in order to start communication between AP and PC: “lwapp ap ip address”
    but then I try rebooting AP with holding MODE button so default IOS load from TFTP but its not happening. I am getting following message.

    Reset done!
    ethernet link up, 100 mbps, full-duplex
    Ethernet port 0 initialized: link is up
    button pressed for 23 seconds
    process_config_recovery: set IP address and config to default
    process_config_recovery: image recovery
    image_recovery: Download default IOS tar image tftp://

    examining image…
    %Error opening (connection timed out)Loading “flash:/c1130-rcvk9w8-mx/c1130-rcvk9w8-mx”…########################################################

    Not sure how would I fix this issue. Can someone help pls!

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