Is Ethershield actually live

Is there a function to check whether the Ethershield is actually connected to a network ? I'm trying to make sure that a fallback (offline, no time check) mode is activated. Currently, I assume that if I can't get a time signal from NIST then I don't have a network, but that only means that I don't have internet. I might still have a standalone network live. I'm not using DHCP, so the return code from begin() would not help.

I'm not using DHCP, so the return code from begin() would not help.

But, you are using Ethernet.begin(), aren't you?

When I had a need to do that (to verify just LAN connectivity, not internet), I did a connect to the default GW address port 80 that I used in the ethernet begin. This is my broadband router's web page, most listen on port 80 on the lan and I read the first line just to make sure I got some kind of http reply.

EthernetClient client;
    if (client.connect(router_ip, 80))
    {
// connection is up and running
}

Neat ideas guys, thanks and definitely will meet needs. Not perfect because in theory the LAN doesn't need a router or even a DHCP server to be a LAN, but in practice will handle the case where the internet (cable) has gone away, which it occasionally does.