Then I take a good solid look and realize that the LAN connection with the activity is not the wired one, but the fucking wireless.
I disable the wired NIC.
Connection up and going strong.
What. The. Fuck. ?!?!?!?
Next step: plugging the NIC that V got from a friend (for free) back in and playing about with it to see if it'll cooperate too now that the D-Link wireless is working.
I don't know how that conspired to make it do something, but ... holy fuck. Wholly fucked. Sheesh.