No error messages, as the wifi appears to be powered off. I don't see any SSIDs. There is a hardware power switch on the Aspire, with click-on, click-off action, so I assume it's monitored by software, not an actual on-off switch. The associated LED emits to show activity, not power, so it's difficult to know what state the hardware is in if it's not transponding.
Hardware is the Atheros chipset. The following responses to the lspci command are identical for USB boot and hard drive boot.
01:00.0 Atheros AR242x/AR542X
Kernel Driver ATH5K
Kernel Module ATH5K
thanks for your help,
Last edited by ramoseley; 11-19-2012 at 10:18 AM.