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When you start or re-start a torrent, the first thing that happens is your client "scrapes" the tracker, by transmitting a small metafile containing your information. The tracker then adds you to its list of swarm members.

The tracker transmits a metafile to your client, containing a list of the active swarm members, and a timer that tells your client when to re-scrape. At each re-scrape the tracker updates the list of active members.

Once your client has the list, it attempts to contact other swarm members from the list and initiate negotiations with them. Because your client initiated the contact, this is called LOCAL initiation.

Meantime, all of the other members are periodically scraping the tracker, and getting updated lists which now include you as a swarm member. Some of those members will attempt to contact your client on your listen port. (If the listen port is not open, your firewall(s) blocks and rejects those attempts.)

If the connection succeeds, it was initiated by some other member, so this is called REMOTE initiation. If efforts to initiate remote connections are stymied, some clients will attempt to negotiate a mixed connection called a network address translation traversal, which is called a NAT initiation.

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