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Several sources of randomness can change the radio link data rate at the edge of tactical networks. Simulations and field experiments define these sources of randomness indirectly by choosing the mobility pattern, communication technology, number of nodes, terrain, obstacles and so on. Therefore, the distribution of change in the network conditions is unknown until the experiment is executed. We start with the hypothesis that a model can quantize the network conditions, using a set of states updated within a time window, to define and control the distribution of change in the link data rate before the experiment is executed. The goal is to quantify how much variation in the link data rate a tactical system can handle and how long it takes to resume IP data-flows after link disconnections. Our model includes functions to combine patterns of change together, transforming one pattern into another, jumping between patterns, and creating loops among different patterns of change. We use exemplary patterns to show how the change in the data rate impacts other link metrics, such as latency and jitter. Our hypothesis is verified with experiments using VHF radios over different patterns of change created by our model. We compute the inter-packet latency of three types of IP data-flows (broadcast, unicast and overlay) to highlight the time to resume data-flows after long link disconnections. The experimental results also support the discussion on the advantages and limitations of our model, which was designed to test tactical systems using military radios.