As many of you know, the onboard Intel NIC (8086:0d4f) found in the 10th generation of the Intel NUC (Frost Canyon) is not automatically recognized by ESXi and requires an updated ne1000 VIB which was released earlier this year. An unfortunate side affect after patching or upgrading an ESXi host which contains this modified ne1000 VIB is that it will be replaced by a newer version of the VIB and causes the NIC to no longer be recognized again.
A quick workaround is to simply re-install the modified ne1000 VIB and network connectivity will be restored which is less than ideal. A new vSphere Image Profile can also be created that contains both the patch/upgrade you intend to apply along with the modified ne1000 VIB, ensuring that you remove the newer version which may not be ideal as well. In speaking with Songtao, a VMware Engineer who I worked with on the USB Network Native Driver for ESXi, about this issue and he came up with a very simple solution. Lets choose a different name for the VIB module which removes all the complexity mentioned above. This solution would allow for both drivers to coexists and more importantly, it is persistent across patching and upgrades of ESXi.