Converting a Mobility Express AP into a CAPWAP AP

I was recently installing some Cisco 2802 APs and came across an issue where one of the APs  would grab a DHCP address, be reachable for a minute, and then drop off the network.

It turns out the AP having an issue actually had the Mobility Express image installed and needed to be converted to CAPWAP, even though we purchased the APs specifically with the CAPWAP SKU. Here are the troubleshooting steps I went through to convert the AP to CAPWAP.

After rebooting the AP a number of times to see if it would work, I threw a console cable on the device and saw some interesting output.

I rebooted the device again and came to this screen indicating that it was indeed in Mobility Express mode.

To reset the AP into CAPWAP mode you’ll need to enter enable mode on the CLI and enter the “ap-type capwap” command.

The AP then rebooted, got its DHCP address, and successfully connected to the controller.

Documentation from Cisco to convert an AP from Mobility Express to CAPWAP can be found here:


Upgrading IOS-XE 3.X to IOS-XE Denali 16.X

IOS-XE Denali represents Cisco’s effort to bring a single code base across their enterprise line of networking equipment, meaning the same operating system will run Catalyst, ISR, and ASR platforms.

IOS-XE 3.7 will be the “end of the track” for the 3.X train of code on Catalyst 3650/3850… so to speak.

Below are the steps I used to upgrade a 3850 from IOS-XE 03.06.03E to IOS-XE 16.3.5b Denali. The switches were in “install mode” and these steps are specific for that method. To check your mode you can issue a show version command and look under the Mode column. 3850s should come from the factory in install mode; bundle mode is similar to the older upgrade method where you boot from a monolithic bin file. More info on install mode and bundle mode can be found here.

If you’re looking to free up some space to copy over your new version you can run a software clean command to clean up any unused packages.

Copy over your new ios version via any support method (usb, tftp, scp, etc.). We’ll use the software install set of commands with the force and new flags since we’re going from 3.X up to 16.X. Once completed type yes to initiate your reload. There is some micro code upgrades that may take some time so you’re looking at about 10+ minutes of down time.