Autonomous AP and Migration to CAPWAP

  • Autonomous APs use a firmware/software which offers wireless service without a controller.
  • We can configure/manage each autonomous AP using the CLI via a console port or Telnet/SSH.
  • Default credentials are none/Cisco (means no username is required, and default password is Cisco).
  • Once we connect a Autonomous AP(Without any configuration done from our side) to LAN then it tries to get a IP from DHCP server indefinitely.
  • Autonomous AP is easier to config. from web interface mode
  • Better to configure a static IP to AP via CLI ad then open a web browser to access via web interface.
  • This static IP address is assigned to the AP bridge interface, which is a virtual interface, also shared by all radios and Ethernet interfaces.
  • Basic configuration can be done by express setup but there are many limitation of this setup.
    1. Cannot edit SSIDs (delete SSIDs and re-create them).
    2. Cannot assign SSIDs to specific radio interfaces (default enabled on all radio interfaces).
    3. Cannot configure multiple WEP keys.
    4. Cannot assign an SSID to a VLAN that is already configured on the AP.
    5. Cannot configure combinations of authentication types such as MAC address authentication and EAP authentication on the same SSID.
  • Migration of autonomous APs to CAPWAP by uploading a CAPWAP firmware image to the AP(k9w8 – CAPWAP code for an AP). The conversion can be done several ways:
    1. 1st Way: Use an IOS-to-CAPWAP upgrade tool running on Windows. The autonomous AP must be running Cisco IOS Software version 12.3(7) JA or higher, and the WLC should be running version 3.1 or later.  PC with the Lightweight upgrade tool is also required. In the IOS-to-CAPWAP upgrade tool, we would input a text file (containing each AP to convert IP address, and telnet and privilege mode credentials) and would provide the information needed for the conversion process (controller details, TFTP server IP address, and CAPWAP firmware filename). The tool would then connect to each AP and run the conversion routine.
    2. 2nd Way: We can also convert the AP from the Cisco WCS interface. First add the autonomous AP to the WCS (from Configure > Access Points > Add Autonomous AP). After the autonomous AP is added to WCS, go to Configure > Migration Templates and create a template to convert the autonomous AP to CAPWAP.
    3. 3rd Way: Convert the AP directly from the CLI with the command archive download software ftp|tftp://<address and name of the minimal CAPWAP file to use>.
  • We can convert back the AP from CAPWAP to Cisco IOS(Autonomous)
    1. Download the Cisco IOS firmware image for specific AP. Put this image in a TFTP server (k9w7 – IOS version of the AP code). Then we must associate the CAPWAP AP to the controller, and run, from the controller CLI (migration is not available from the controller web interface), the command config ap tftp-downgrade tftp-server-ip-address filename access-point-name.
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