Okay weird update... I changed it to 1G but still received the same error after restarting MySQL service. So then I went back and set it back to 64M default it had (which should have been enough anyways), but then when I tried it again soon after it then suddenly worked importing the JSON file without "Malformed communication packet", it's as if maybe the 1G value worked but wasn't recognized until later? Or it was a total coincidence, I'm not certain which yet. lol.
I'm wondering now if it maybe makes sense to up the max_allowed_packet up a bit though? I mean 64 MB is fine but wondering if it should be closer to 256 MB or something like that instead? I'm not certain if this was even to do with it, but it seemed possible given that it worked soon after tinkering with the values.
@nebulon Ah yes I see what you mean. Let's hope this does the trick. From the changelog: "Now the initial database connection doesn't fail instantly when there's an error, but retries for up to 15 times by default, adjustable with the DB_CONNECTION_RETRIES option."