Reverting Cisco 1142n from Lightweight Mode to Autonomous Mode

You can convert any autonomous mode Cisco Aironet access point, to lightweight mode and back. When you upgrade one of these access points to lightweight mode, the access point communicates with a controller and receives a configuration and software image from the controller. Many access points purchased second hand might be in the lightweight mode and you will have to convert it back to autonomous mode to be able to use it as a fully featured access point at home for example.

If the access point was converted from autonomous access point to lightweight mode, you can convert the access point from a lightweight unit back to an autonomous unit by loading a Cisco IOS release that supports autonomous mode. This means that you will have to load a new Cisco IOS image on the device and boot from it. If the access point is associated to a controller, you can use the controller to load the Cisco IOS release. If the access point is not associated to a controller (you don't have the controller), you can load the Cisco IOS release using TFTP. In either method, the access point must be able to access a TFTP server that contains the Cisco IOS release to be loaded.

In this article I will describe the process of reverting Cisco 1142n from Lightweight Mode to Autonomous Mode without using the controller.


TFTP Server

You can download TFTP Server here. Install it and start it on your computer.



Connect the access point directly with your computer. Configure static IP address on the PC interface on which your TFTP server software runs. For example


Cisco IOS Image

Download Cisco IOS image with autonomous mode support.

  • Example of lightweight image: c1140-rcvk9w8-mx
  • Example of image with autonomous support: c1140-k9w7-mx.153-3.JBB5


Reloading Cisco IOS image with autonomous mode support

  1. Disconnect power from the access point.
  2. Press and hold the MODE button while you reconnect power to the access point.
         Note: The MODE button on the access point must be enabled.
  3. Hold the MODE button until the status LED turns red (approximately 20 to 30 seconds), and release the MODE button.
  4. Wait until the access point reboots as indicated by all LEDs turning green followed by the Status LED blinking green.
  5. After the access point reboots you should see the ap: prompt.
  6. Issue the following set of commands (change the variables):

    set IP_ADDR
    set NETMASK
    tar -xtract tftp://<TFTP_svr>/<Path_to_tar> flash:
    set BOOT flash:/<image_directory>/<image_name>
    # example: set BOOT flash:/c1140-k9w7-mx.153-3.JBB5/c1140-k9w7-mx.153-3.JBB5
    set MANUAL_BOOT = no #(this might not be necessary; you can skip this for the first time)

Your access point should boot with the new image and you can start with basic configuration as explained in my Cisco 1142n Configuration article.


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