The Realtek chipset in here https://pci-ids.ucw.cz/read/PC/10ec/8168/103c86d4 while working with the r8169 driver won’t generate link-up events. The connection won’t come up, even when the other side (a switch) reports link and traffic. The same setup (cable & switchport) will “just work” if the laptop is booted while connected. If the cable gets unplugged after that it will require a “reboot while connected” to get a link again.
The “link-up” event wording is about the dmesg output, where the link-down events are logged but no link-up event is to be found.
Tried a suggestion about windows disabling the interface, or something related to WoL. Shut it down for a while, also enabled all the possible network options in the BIOS. like WoL and network boot, to no avail.