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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Convert Cisco 1700/2700 Series APs to Autonomous Mode

For smaller environments it's not always cost effective to buy a WLC so the need arises to put the APs into autonomous mode.

Since the 1700/2700 series APs ship in lightweight mode, here's how to change them over to autonomous mode:

1.  Log in to
2.  Click on "Support" at the top of the page.
3.  Click the "Downloads" button.
4.  Select "Wireless" from the left side.
5.  Select "Access Points".
6.  Select "Cisco 1700 Series Access Points".
7.  Select Cisco Aironet 1702i Access Points".
8.  Click "Autonomous AP IOS Software".  As of this writing the latest version is 15.3.3-JBB1(ED)
9.  Connect to the AP using a console cable.
10.  Power on the AP.  If you have a POE switch then that way is best.  If not use a power injector or power cord for the AP.
11.  Start a TFTP server on your laptop or PC and set the LAN interface to
12.  Open a serial connection to the AP.  Once the boot up finishes log in.  Remember the default password is Cisco.
13.  Enter the following commands in this order:

  • enable
  • debug capwap console cli
  • debug capwap client no-reload
  • capwap ap ip address
  • capwap ap ip default-gateway
  • archive download-sw /force /overwrite tftp://
14.  Once the upload, extraction, and installation is complete (3 to 5 minutes) the AP will restart.
15.  Once the restart is completed log in and do a show version command.
16.  Verify the AP now provides access to the full suite of IOS commands.
17.  Configure as needed.

If you get any errors from the AP while it is still in lightweight mode during this process I find it easiest to just put these commands into a text file and then paste them into Putty vs trying to type them in with the lines scrolling.

I hope this helps you get your APs setup faster and don't have to deal with a complicated process.

Good luck.


Daniel Bruss said...

Excellent write-up and the steps worked perfectly for me!

Thanks much!

Sean Mason said...

On step 12, for me it does not prompt for any kind of creds. It just says ‘password required, but none set’ and it closes the connection automatically. Any ideas?

Otmane Bouayad said...

Works like a champ thank you

Otmane Bouayad said...

Works like a champ, thank you

SubnetZero said...

This worked flawlessly for my 2702i. thank you!

djkevinz said...

Worked great! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I converted a 2702E AP to Autonomous Mode. But after booting up it shows 3600 series not 2700. What could be wrong?