• Intel IXP425 based (533MHz)
  • 2 WAN interfaces:
    • WAN1 is Realtek RTL8110s (theorically gigabit capable, but connected to a 10/100 Mbps transformer), connected to PCI bus
    • WAN2 is IXP425 NPE-C (10/100 Mbps)
  • 9 ports LAN switch: Broadcom BCM5380MKPB (8 x 10/100 Mbps + 1 x 10/100/1000Mbps), connected to IXP425 NPE-B MAC
  • Nitrox Cavium CN501 encryption accelerator, connected to PCI bus → up to 200 ipsec VPN (source: Netgear)
Version/Model S/N OpenWrt Version Supported Model Specific Notes
v1 - WIP -
v2 - - -
Version CPU Ram Flash Network USB Serial JTag
1 Intel IXP425@533MHz 32MB 16MB 2 x 1 + 1 x 9 No Yes ?
2 Intel IXP425@533MHz 64MB 32MB 2 x 1 + 1 x 9 No Yes ?

I did some patches to run OpenWrt in this box.

  • BCM5380 switch works standalone only, it is not usable as a network interface in linux at this time
    The switch is fully working in Redboot, but we loose the MII connection when loading linux.
    It seems that the mode of the switch MAC that is connected to the processor changes from “Reverse MII” to “Standard MAC/PHY” when loading linux.
    Then, the NPE driver always says “MII read failed” when the interface is up.
    Works !
  • Nitrox Cavium encryption accelerator chip doesn't work as its driver is closed source

This section details what is required to install and upgrade OpenWrt. First we link to software that you should download before you start reading the instructions on how to install.

This section deals with how you install OpenWrt from a device freshly opened. Plus the steps required such as reset to factory defaults if the device has already been configured

Note: Reset router to factory defaults if it has been previously configured.

  • Browse to
  • Upload .bin file to router
  • Wait for it to reboot
  • Telnet to and set a root password, or browse to if LuCI is installed.

If you want to upgrade using TFTP you follow these steps (as an alternative to the above install process.

If you have already installed OpenWrt and like to reflash for e.g. upgrading to a new OpenWrt version you can upgrade using the mtd command line tool. It is important that you put the firmware image into the ramdisk (/tmp) before you start flashing.

LuCI Web Upgrade Process
  • Browse to LuCI Upgrade URL
  • Upload TRX file to LuCI
  • Wait for reboot
Terminal Upgrade Process
  • Login as root via SSH on
  • Use the following commands to upgrade.
cd /tmp/
mtd write /tmp/openwrt-brcm-2.4-squashfs.trx linux && reboot

If you forgot your password, broken one of the startup scripts, firewalled yourself or corrupted the JFFS2 partition, you can get back in by using OpenWrt's failsafe mode.

  • Unplug the router's power cord.
  • Connect the router's LAN1 port directly to your PC.
  • Configure your PC with a static IP address between and E. g. (gateway and DNS is not required).
  • Plug the power on and wait for the DMZ LED to light up.
  • While the DMZ LED is on immediately press any button (Reset and Secure Easy Setup will work) a few times .
  • If done right the DMZ LED will quickly flash 3 times every second.
  • You should be able to telnet to the router at now (no username and password)

NOTE: The root file system in failsafe mode is the SquashFS partition mounted in readonly mode. To switch to the normal writable root file system run mount_root and make any changes. Run mount_root now.

  1. Forgot/lost your password and you like to set a new one
  2. Forgot the routers IP address
    uci get network.lan.ipaddr
  3. You accidentally run 'ipkg upgrade' or filled up the flash by installing to big packages (clean the JFFS2 partition and start over)
    mtd -r erase rootfs_data

If you are done with failsafe mode power cycle the router and boot in normal mode.

Architecture ARM
Vendor Intel
Bootloader RedBoot
System-On-Chip Intel IXP425
CPU Speed 533 Mhz
Flash-Chip Intel StrataFlash TE28F128J3C150 (v1) / ? (v2)
Flash size 16 MiB (v1) / 32 MiB (v2)
RAM 32 MiB (v1) / 64 MiB (v2)
Wireless -
Ethernet 2 x 10/100Mbps + 1 x Broadcom BCM5380 switch (8 x 10/100Mbps + 1 x 10/100/1000Mbps)
Serial Yes
                   |     IXP425     |
                   |                |
     --------------| PCI       GPIO |-----
     |             |                |    |
     |             | NPE-C   NPE-B  |    |
     |             |----------------|    |SPI
     |                 |       |         |MGMT
 |--------|            /        \MII     |
 |RTL8110s|           /MII       \       |
 |--------|          /         |-------| |
     |            |---|        |BCM5380|-|
     |            |PHY|        |-------|
     |            |---|            |
   |----|           |         |---------|
   |WAN1|        |WAN2|       |LAN PORTS|
---|-  -|--------|-  -|-------|-       -|---


Photo of front


Photo of back

Note: This will void your warranty!

  • To remove the cover simply remove the screws !

Main PCB

The FVX538 has a serial port with its DB9 connector. Levels are 0-5V (null modem cable required).

Serial parameters:

Speed 115200 bauds
Data bits 8
Stop bits 1
Parity none
Flow control none

How to connect to JTAG interface, and how to reflash the device with JTAG tools

See port.jtag for more JTAG details.

The default network configuration is:

Interface Name Description Default configuration
br-lan LAN & WiFi
vlan0 (eth0.0) LAN ports (1 to 4) None
vlan1 (eth0.1) WAN port DHCP
wl0 WiFi Disabled

Numbers 0-3 are Ports 1-4 as labeled on the unit, number 4 is the Internet (WAN) on the unit, 5 is the internal connection to the router itself. Don't be fooled: Port 1 on the unit is number 3 when configuring VLANs. vlan0 = eth0.0, vlan1 = eth0.1 and so on.

Port Switch port
Internet (WAN) 4
LAN 1 3
LAN 2 2
LAN 3 1
LAN 4 0

The Netgear FVX538 has one button: “Factory defaults”. It is connected to GPIO 11.

Purchase new blue LEDs from Radio Shack, and replace them with your existing ones.

Anything else we haven't covered yet

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  • Last modified: 2021/12/05 11:52
  • by tmomas