Thanks for the reply, any help appreciated. I'm using a belkin powered hub, one from the verified list. That definitely is working. I don't think it is wireless security, debian loads the module, sees the usb device, but doesn't list any device under wlan0. To be honest I have had this problem with linux systems before, their native driver support is pretty bad. The cheat way around it on an X86 system is ndiswrapper.
Anyway I thought I would give ARCH ago, I had it working on an eeepc, the machine I'm using at the moment, which is now Lubuntu. Once I've figured out how to resize an ext4 partition. Oh well.