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[OT] Remote Data Acquisition Programming

Hi all,
A client has installed a number of site controllers linked to fuel dispensers 
in distant retail sites to provide automated fuelling services. Communication 
between the site controllers and a central front end processor (FEP) is via 
telephone links with modems attached to RS232 interfaces at both ends.

I have a strong desire to implement a new, open and robust front end processor 
using Debian GNU/Linux primarily for automated remote data acquisition or 
data download/transfer from the controller to the FEP.

So far, I've managed to get hold of the non-standard protocol specifications 
for communication between the FEP and site controller. The communication 
scheme is basically the exchange of well formatted message blocks eg. STX - 
Start of text, , EOT, ACK - Acknowledgment, NAK, ENQ  etc. with both binary 
and ASCII values.

My dilemma is on how to send these messages from within a C program and over a 
telephone link. For example, what interface should I look at in this case - 
the modem or serial port? I have read Serial port and Modem HOWTOs and also 
Serial programming for POSIX operating systems but still can't deduce the 
best way to apprroach the problem.  Are there any APIs in Linux for 
programming the modem/serial port or is making low level i/o system calls the 
only way out? 

Grateful for any guidance on the best way to proceed. 

Thanks and regards,

Alphonse Ogulla
Nairobi, Kenya

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