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Checking if the network is up

I am trying to write a script to use popclient to download the mail from the
office's server. This will run on a portable. I want the script to check whether
the network is up before attempting to retrieve any mail, as I am likely to
use the notebook in other places and won't be hooked to the network.

The question is:

Is there any way of checking whether the network is responding so that I only
run popclient when it is?


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