Lightroom only import the previews for the images you choose to import and there's no cloud involve in this function.
You can turn off the graphics process from the Lightroom and preferences and check if that helps.
Open Lightroom > Edit > Preferences > Performance > Uncheck the GPU > Restart.
I am importing from my CF card, so..... it must be importing the full image, at least copying it to my HD, and my...... oh, that's the network traffic, my networked server where the backup goes. I'm a dummy!
I was thinking the network traffic was going to the internet, not so.
It still seems slow, and I don't get why it would shut my system down. I'll try what you suggested, but wouldn't that slow things down?
One major issue I am having is my PC shuts down after importing 100 or so photos.
This is a hardware malfunction or bad/corrupt video driver causing the computer to shut down. Since you are performing CPU intensive actions during import (generating previews for many files), one likely cause is that a fan in your computer has malfunctioned causing the computer to overheat and shut itself down (but of course there could be other hardware causes). Also re-install the latest version of your GPU's video driver.