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FW1 FW2 FW4A Series Hardware Overview


tAs with all Protectli Vault hardware, the FW1, FW2 and FW4A series need only RAM (memory) and mSATA (storage) added in order to have a fully functional hardware system. In addition, an optional WiFi module can be installed as well. For more information on HW compatibility, see this link.

The FW1, FW2, and FW4A series hardware are different in a few subtle ways, but the general board layout, supported hardware, and placement of components is largely the same. The FW1 and FW4A vary only in the type of CPU they have, while the FW2 is different from the other in the number of network ports, as well as CPU. For a full comparison between different models, please see this page.

The annotated photo below shows the location of the various sockets.  The FW4A is pictured.

protectli fw4a


The FW4A Series uses an Intel Atom E3845U processor (located on the underside of the motherboard). This CPU has built in suport for Intel's AES-NI hardware encryption.

The FW1 series uses an Intel J1900 processor and the FW2 series uses an Intel J1800 processor.


There is a single SODIMM socket for memory. The maximum supported memory size is 8GB of DDR3L (1.35V). The FW1, FW2 and FW4A series support the DDR3-1333 specification where the module is referred to as the PC3-10600. "1333" means 1333 Mega Transfers per second. The FW2B and FW4B support the DDR3-1600 specification where the module is referred to as the PC3-12800. "1600" means 1600 Mega Transfers per second. Higher speed memory such as DDR3-1866 and DDR3-2133 can be used in the units, however the performance will only be as fast as the CPU memory access specification. Note that standard DDR3 is incompatible. If using DDR3, the failure symptom is that there will be no video. Only DDR3L is compatible with the FW1, FW2, and FW4A series.


The FW1, FW2, and FW4A series come with a single mSATA socket.  This socket is capable of holding any standard size mSATA.  Protectli offers mSATA drives in capacity ranging from 8GB to 960GB.


The WiFi module socket is a PCIe form factor socket.

Note that the wifi module, while PCIe in form factor, operates over USB channel communication, limiting functionality as compared to pure PCIe modules.  Protectli sells a compatible wifi module that is available here.  Instructions for installation of the wifi module can be found here.


The FW1,FW2,FW4A all utilize VGA output. We have seen mixed results with VGA to HDMI adapters. The cabled in this (link) has shown consistent results.

protectli fw4a inputs

Port Connectivity

The 'Front' of the 4 port Vault is pictured above.  Connectivity and port counts are the same for the FW1 and the FW4A.  The FW2 is different, as it only has 2 ports (WAN and LAN).

Power should be supplied by the included power supply, which is rated for 12V at 3.3A.

The Power LED, which lights up green when power is applied, indicates that the Vault has power applied.  It does not indicate the status for the operating system

The Drive Activity LED will blink, according to mSATA drive activity.  Usually, the user will see the most activity as the unit is booting, or if the unit is under heavy load.  For most operating systems, this indicator will not be on and only blink occasionally under most conditions.

The Network ports are each independently connected to the CPU via a PCIe connection.  A table that shows port numbering can be found below.

Vault ModelPort 6Port 5Port 4Port 3Port 2Port 1
VP46XX6 (igc5)5 (igc4)4 (igc3)3 (igc2)2 (igc1)1 (igc0)
VP66XX4 (igc3)3 (igc2)2 (igc1)1 (igc0)SFP+2 (ixl1)SFP+1 (ixl0)
PFSense(Free BSD) Labeling (in software)OPT4OPT3OPT2OPT1LANWAN
OPNsense(Free BSD) Labeling (in software)OPT4OPT3OPT2OPT1WANLAN
Windows 10 (in software)Ethernet 6Ethernet 5Ethernet 4Ethernet 3Ethernet 2Ethernet 1

If you have any questions, feel free to reach to us at support@protectli.com, or find more information in our Knowledge Base.

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