“General failure”, that’s helpful. My on-board Atheros L1 Gigabit NIC sucks. There is really no other way to put it. Every Atheros chip, be it wireless or cable, I have had the misfortune to come across has been worthless. You should think that Ethernet and Wi-Fi should be pretty well understood concepts by now. Not so for the driver developers of Atheros. In this case the driver has “lost” (for wont of a better word) the NICs MAC address. So ipconfig.exe displays the hardware address 00-00-00-00-00-00. Needless to say, using that address on the Ethernet is not going to work. The first time this happened I had to open up the computer case and read the MAC address from the motherboard. After that I could use the driver properties to enter it manually. After that connections was restored.
However, Atheros still had some surprises! Whenever I chanced an upgrade of the driver, I would loose network connectivity again! Even if the MAC address was correctly entered into the device properties. To fix this I had to remove it, close the device properties dialogue, open it again and re-enter it. User-friendly, don’t you think?
So stay away from anything using one of Atheros chips.