What is the purpose of port 44158 & how does it come into play with challenges?

When a challenger sends a challenge to the target hotspot, I understand that it goes over the internet, and the name P2P implies that it goes direct from the challenger to the target. I see that hotspots try to open up port 44158 via UPnP, so I assume this is where the challenge is sent.

Does the challenge only go direct from the challenger to the target, or can it also go via some Helium infrastructure over a connection that was originated from the target hotspot?

If port 44158 is firewalled, will this prevent challenges getting to a target hotspot?
Does it cause problems if it’s not open to the world?

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Generally, while opening 44158 isn’t required, it’s helpful for a lot of reasons (but if you don’t want to open it up, the Hotspot has the ability to figure things out - probably).

On the topic of challenges, having 44158 open is going to be better than not, though doesn’t necessarily guarantee better performance on challenges.

On the whole, the most robust, secure setup would be to configure your network such that your hotspot was in a DMZ, but did allow traffic in and out on 44158.

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How much time on average elapses between time a hotspot completes update of its location on the Helium blockchain and a challenge is issued and a packet can be witnessed? There are two Helium hotspots within 5mi of each in our town, and I can move one to a spot within 2.5mi of the other that is also high ground for a few hours per day.

On average, how long should a relocated Helium hotspot need to be in place before we should be able to witness packet exchanges?

Once a Hotspot’s location is reasserted and it’s fully synced locally with the blockchain, it’ll start participating in the network. This shouldn’t take too long if you’re moving a Hotspot that was already synced.

NOTE: The Network assigns a re-asserted Hotspot with the neutral score of .25.