Wireless n Interoperability
Interoperability refers to any of several technologies that can work with one another even if their standards are technically incompatible. Luckily, wireless n networking equipment can be set to any of three modes to achieve backward compatibility with the older Wi-Fi standards.
Legacy Mode – This mode makes it possible for older standards such a 802.11a/b/g network cards to communicate with a 802.11n router. Capable of communicating with both 2.4GHz and 5Ghz frequency band equipment, legacy mode will help you avoid having to completely replace all of your wireless networking hardware when upgrading to wireless n. Not all 802.11n equipment, however, will support the aging 802.11a 5GHz standard. If you are still using this standard, it is definitely time to upgrade and enjoy faster wireless network speeds and ranges anyway.
Mixed Mode – This mode makes it possible for the 802.11a/b/g/n standards to communicate simultaneously with 802.11n wireless networking hardware. If only part of your network has been upgraded to wireless n, you can rest assured that your older equipment can work side by side with the new standard. Again, not all equipment will support the 5GHz, 802.11a standard so check the owner’s manual of your hardware to be sure mixed mode will work for you.
Greenfield Mode – This mode is for pure 802.11n networks in which no other standards are being used simultaneously on the network. If all of your wireless networking hardware is compatible with wireless n, this mode will let you take advantage of all the features and benefits of running wireless n in the first place.