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I'm using Tor-browser-bundle with Vidalia. Yesterday, just out of curiosity, I clicked on "view the network." In the "connection" box, I see my circuits. About 5, 6 circuits each with 3 different nodes. Then I realised something : only the 2 last nodes are different, the first is always the same IP. So I click on "new identity" and guess what ? Same first node again. Exit node have changed, very well, but the first relay is the same.

Is that how it's supposed to work?

  • I've removed part two of your question as it doesn't really relate to the rest of the question; feel free to ask it as a separate question. Thanks! – Sam Whited Nov 15 '14 at 18:52
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Looks like the single guard node proposal is implemented now: "...in its first startup, Tor picks one guard and stores its identity persistently to disk. Tor uses that guard node as the first hop of its circuits from thereafter."

More info: https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/11480

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This article shows, that clients are rotating their guard nodes every 4-8 weeks.

https://blog.torproject.org/blog/lifecycle-of-a-new-relay

It isn't optimal to allow this temporary dip in traffic (since we're not taking advantage of resources that you're trying to contribute), but it's a short period of time overall: clients rotate their guards nodes every 4-8 weeks, so pretty soon some of them will rotate onto your relay.

So your client is looking for a guard flagged relay (entry relay) and after a certain amount of time (4-8 weeks) it is rotating to another entry relay.

I think they didn't implemented the proposal yet because the milestone is set to 0.2.6.x-final in trac.

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