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A channel has a total balance (capacity). The balance can keep going (in parts) from one side to the other.
If you have a channel with only local balance, you can only pay others. The balance will then move from your side to your peers side. This channel cannot be used to receive payments.
If someone opens a channel to you, from your side you see only remote balance. Via this channel you can now receive payments.
After paying in a channel, there is balance on two sides.
A well-balanced channel will often work better.