A link is a beam of energy between two portals. Links are useful for creating control fields, blocking enemy links, transporting artifacts, and increasing portal mitigation. When creating a link, the portal at which you are standing is referred to as the origin portal, while the other is called the remote portal.
Each of the portals involved in a link must meet the following requirements:
- It must be aligned with your faction.
- It must have all eight resonators deployed.
- At least one of its resonators must be above critical energy level.
To be eligible to be the origin portal for a link, a portal must additionally meet the following requirements:
- You must be standing within 40 meters of it.
- It cannot already have eight outgoing links. (You can see a link’s direction by observing the pulses of light that travel in the opposite direction. In other words, outgoing links have pulses of light moving toward the origin portal.) This limit can be increased by installing SoftBank Ultra Links.
If the origin portal meets these requirements and you have at least 250 XM in your reserves, the “Link” button on the portal information card for the origin portal will light up and ADA will say “Link possible.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can actually link anything. The scanner doesn’t check any of the other conditions until it starts looking for remote portals to link to. Yes, ADA is a tease.
In order to be able to establish a link to the remote portal, you must have its key in your inventory, and the link must meet the following requirements:
- It must not be longer than the origin portal’s link range. A portal’s link range is displayed on its info card, and can be increased by upgrading its resonators or installing link amps.
- It must not intersect any existing links of either faction.
- Its anchor portals must not be inside any control field of either faction, unless the link is less than 500 meters long, or the origin portal is an anchor of the field.
Creating a Link
To create a link, tap the origin portal, then tap the “Link” button. You will see an overhead view of your current location. After a few moments, the scanner will load the list of portals you can link to the origin portal in a carousel at the bottom of the screen. Select the desired remote portal to select it and see information about that portal. Tap the “Link” button to create the link, or tap the close button below the carousel to return to the portal information card. An animation will be displayed of the link being formed, which you can skip by clicking the arrow button.
Note that when showing the list of linkable portals, the scanner is only able to consider a limited range which checking for blocking links. Portals which are not blocked by the links found within that range will be shown as potentially linkable. This means that some more distant portals may appear to be linkable, but when you actually attempt the link, you may find that the link is blocked. Attempting a link that ends up being blocked will not consume the portal key.
When you create a link, 250 XM is deducted from your reserves, the key to the remote portal is consumed, and you get 313 AP. Note that if you only have one key for a portal and you use that key to link to it, you won’t be able to remote recharge that portal anymore until you get another.
If the link closes an area bounded by two other links (forming a spherical triangle), a control field is formed. This grants you an additional 1,250 AP. Note that it is possible to establish more than one control field at once with a single link.
The link range of a portal with no link amps is computed with the following formula:
R = 160L4
…where R is the link range in meters, and L is the average level of the portal’s resonators. Thus, the maximum possible link range for a portal with no link amps is 160×84 = 160×4096 ≈ 655 km. Installing link amps on the origin portal will increase its range.
Links increase a portal’s damage mitigation, making it more resistant to attacks. However, each link you add has less effect than the last; after around three or four links, the returns start diminishing significantly. The exact formula for link mitigation is:
…where n is the number of links attached to the portal and e is Euler’s number (approximately 2.71828). Installing SoftBank ultra links (a link amp variant) can amplify link mitigation.
The maximum mitigation that can be obtained on a single portal via links is 70, but achieving this level of link mitigation requires 386 links. Also, total portal mitigation (from both links and shields) tops out at 95, so if you already have 95 mitigation on a portal, adding more links does not increase it (although it could make the portal stay stronger longer when shields start going down).
The Machina faction can create links, too, but they aren’t subject to all the same rules as the human factions:
- They are are not blocked by links from any faction (but they do block non-Machina links).
- They can exceed eight outbound links without SoftBank Ultra Links.
- They are not impeded by fields.
- The remote portal can be a neutral, which will be automatically captured by Machina when the link is established.
Because links obstruct other links, pay attention to what your link may be blocking if you put it down. (It can be good to box in the enemy, but bad to do that to a friend.) Be aware that the intel map is rendered in Mercator projection, but links follow the shortest path over the curvature of the Earth. (In other words, they are segments of great circles.) This means that links appear curved when displayed on the intel map. Be sure to take this into account when planning very long links.
Because of the diminishing returns when it comes to link mitigation, it is better to have a lot of portals with a few links than a few portals with a lot of links. For example, a portal with three links gains 38 mitigation, while one with 10 links gets 58 mitigation. So 10 portals with three links each gives a cumulative mitigation of 380, while three portals with 10 links each only gives a cumulative mitigation of 174. Also, although you experience decreasing mitigation returns with each link, the AP gained by an attacker for taking them down continues to grow linearly. After four links, the mitigation/AP tradeoff turns to the attacker’s favor. Of course, putting up the links grants more AP than the attacker gets for taking the portal out, but that AP is distributed across all the agents that put up the links, while the single attacker who drops the links gets all the AP.
When a link is broken, the portal key used to create the link is dropped at the origin portal. Look on the ground near the portal for small rectangular objects: those portal keys go to remote portals.
- 18 April 2013: Links provide mitigation to resonators.
- 13 June 2013: The link amp mod is introduced and link mitigation is increased.
- 9 October 2013: Creating a link begins inserting notifications in the comm.
- 21 November 2013: The existence of the very rare link amp is revealed on the Ingress Report.
- 23 June 2015: The SoftBank ultra link is introduced.
- 5 November 2018: Ingress Prime is released, bringing cosmetic and usability changes to the linking UI, but no change to the actual mechanics.
- 31 March 2022: Links less than 500 meters in length can be made under control fields.