There are times where I find the WLC + LWAPP combo creates unnecessary overhead and additional points of failure that doesn’t exactly justify the gained ease of configuration and management. Sometimes I just need a single AP that, given a proper config, just works. Autonomous mode can be a hassle to setup comparatively, but once it’s done…it’s done.

There are several methods, but here’s my preferred method of converting a LWAPP to autonomous mode.

NOTE: Be sure that your AP model supports autonomous mode. Some models only support lightweight mode.


  1. Establish a console connection to the AP using your preferred terminal emulator.
  2. Enter enable mode, then place the AP in debug mode. Afterwards, we enter the global command to enable the AP to manually boot on the next boot cycle.
    debug capwap con cli
    boot manual
  3. You will see an ap: prompt upon rebooting. The next set of commands first sets the required variable values to push the autonomous firmware over (IP info up to you to determine). It then initializes Ethernet port, tftp service, and flash. Finally, the AP will request a pull from the TFTP server, extract the image, and boot to the new firmware.
    set IP_ADDR %IPaddress%
    set NETMASK %subnetMask%
    set DEFAULT_ROUTER %gateway%
    tar -xtract tftp:/%imageDirectory%/%image%/ flash:
    set BOOT flash://
    set MANUAL_BOOT = no

Thanks for reading!