In my previous article, I talked about basic configuration of a Cisco WLC controller. In that post I stated that there are two wireless architectures, Distributed and Centralized.
Distributed architectures incorporate Access Points (APs) that are standalone without any central management. The APs in distributed architecture are also called Autonomous Access Points.
On the other hand, Centralized architectures incorporate Access Points which are controlled and managed by a central Wireless LAN Controller device. The APs in centralized architecture are also called Lightweight APs.
In this article we will see step-by-step how to convert an Autonomous AP to a Lightweight AP in order to implement a centralized WiFi design in our network.
Step by step guide to convert an Autonomous AP into Lightweight AP :
In this tutorial I’m using Cisco 3602i access point.
Download the appropriate image for the Lightweight AP from the Cisco website. Download and install tftpd32 software on your computer. Open tftpd32 and browse the folder where you downloaded the software image. Copy the image name.
Connect to the Access point with a console cable. First you need to check the running software and version with Show version command. If the software image contains “W7” in the image name then it’s an autonomous AP and if it contains W8 then it’s a LWAP (Lightweight access point).
Cisco IOS Software, C3600 Software (AP3G2-K9W7-M), Version 15.2(4)JB6, RELEASE SOFTWARE (fc1)
Connect computer and access point with an Ethernet cable. Give interface BVI1 an IP address. Make sure your computer and access points are in the same subnet.
ap(config-if)#ip address 10.10.10.1 255.255.255.0
ap(config)#ip default-gateway 10.10.10.2 255.255.255.0 <— (Your computer’s ip address)
Check the connectivity between the computer and access point
Type escape sequence to abort.
Sending 5, 100-byte ICMP Echos to 10.10.10.2, timeout is 2 seconds:
Success rate is 100 percent (5/5), round-trip min/avg/max = 1/2/4 ms
Finally, Here comes our magical command to install LWAP image on an autonomous access point.
ap#archive download-sw /force-reload /overwrite tftp://10.10.10.2/ap3g2-k9w8-tar.152-4.JB6.tar
Loading ap3g2-k9w8-tar.152-4.JB6.tar from 10.10.10.2 (via BVI1): !
extracting info (286 bytes)
Version Suffix: k9w8-.152-4.JB6
Image Name: ap3g2-k9w8-mx.152-4.JB6
Version Directory: ap3g2-k9w8-mx.152-4.JB6
Ios Image Size: 215552
Total Image Size: 13773312
Image Feature: WIRELESS LAN|LWAPP
Image Family: AP3G2
Wireless Switch Management Version: 188.8.131.52
Now the new image will be downloaded and the AP will reboot
To verify run “show version” command once the AP will come up
Cisco IOS Software, C3600 Software (AP3G2-K9W8-M), Version 15.2(4)JB6, RELEASE SOFTWARE (fc1)