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[tor-talk] about circuit management

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I have remained with Vidalia and installed it as standalone in order
to be able to use it with newer Tor Browser Bundles releases and I am
watching circuits to have an understanding about how they work. I have
some basic questions, please and thank you in advance:

1) What is the lifetime of a circuit? For example if I connect via Tor
to my email server, Tor will select 3 routers randomly and make the
connection. For how long will the circuit stay up? When will it
change? Of course, taking in consideration none of the relays get
disconnected from the Tor network. Is it a lifetime set for circuit?
Or a bandwidth traffic consumption limit?

2) For example when I access the website aol.com it has multiple
resources which are hosted on other servers, other IP addresses and I
can see a bunch of circuits on ports 80 and 443 just to be able to
load the entire content of the website. Does Tor know that all these
resources are for the same page, and should choose the same circuit
for all the same like the parent circuit, or it chooses randomly?

This is important because if a website is let's say trying to track
user behavior and they see an IP address as REMOTE_ADDR and if they
track another image hosted on other server, paired with a session ID
to know it's the same session and that image gets requested from
another IP address than site can be sure the user is using an anonymizer.

3) NTor circuit extension - don't ALL relays support this?

4) A connection to a hidden service - does it have a lifetime? I can
see when I access a hidden service that more circuits are opened. Is
there a lifetime for these or can I stay connected to the hidden
service forever as long as all relays in my circuit stay online?

- -- 

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