Update #2: We identified and reported a bug in the driver package and with the fixed version, rebooted into the new kernel successfully.
Update: We are back online with the older, working kernel and will keep investigating why the new one does not recognize the card.
The revenge of the driver. The driver issue that was so much fun during the initial setup is back after a recent kernel update. We are looking into having the network card replaced, otherwise it will likely be a few days to debug the driver issue.