Unfortunately for the old stuff, Vocoder tech does indeed make a huge difference.... enough difference to make DMR sound better at even (arguably) half the bitrate. So it is not about the theoretical max bitrate being transmitted, its about how much those bits are actually encoding useful information, and a better compression algorithm will provide, like MP3, better audio quality at lower bitrates. I like to compare Vocoders to the Fraunhoffer MPEG Layer-3 audio (MP3) which can store audio at 1/10 the bitrate of an uncompressed PCM 16-bit WAV file and deliver near identical quality to that. Sure, an MP3 is still not as good as a 16-bit PCM uncompressed, which in theory is not as good as a true analog LP vinyl 33 RPM, but it takes 1/10th (at 128 kbps rate) the space of a PCM to send nearly identical information to the analog LP signal, and because the brain knows how to put it back together (ECC is in your brain, filling all the missing FFT analysis gaps, etc) you get a pretty much near perfect song. The MP3 codec was far superior to pretty much all of the pre-MP3 era audio codecs that preceded it. and the bitrates needed for an Mp3 to sound great were almost unheard of at the time (1:10 compression ratio in the early 90s was huge, when most consumer hard drives were still measured in megabytes) The same principle pretty much applies to newer Vocoders. Hence why I say, P25 Phase I its obsolete. Much like DMR will be made obsolete once a new Vocoder tech, or something new comes along and renders it obsolete (like Tier I DMR). GSM is obsolete not because of the more sophisticated radio modulations, but because the increased processing power than didn't exist at the sizes of today three decades ago to make such advanced modulations feasible. Newer modulations ranging from OFDM, WCDMA, LTE, QAM.... cell phones can do gigabits per second on just RF... compared to a 9600 baud FM radio the difference is measured in orders of magnitude, that is just ridiculous. So, to sum this long winded paragraph. Its about useful information density, not the bitrate, more bits doesn't mean a better useful information density. Newer Vocoders offer that, older vocoders don't.
As for Dual Capacity Diret Mode, or DCDM, it requires no infrastructure to work at all. Please understand DMR terminology (not just read it from Wikipedia) before emitting such statements, DCDM is a simplex Tier II DMR feature and pretty much any DMR Tier II compatible radio I've tried can do it. Even my 44 dollar CCR Baofeng BF-1801 DMR (a low grade GD77 clone) radios can do DCDM, and have two conversations on a simplex frequency. Can't do that with P25 Phase I, nor analog. Again, DCDM is simplex ONLY.
Then you can also go with a Tier I DMR on simplex if you want to run legacy stuff, operating the thing on full single carrier, which is obsolete too b/c you pretty much throw away all the benefits that a Tier II TDMA system has to offer.
In a Tier II DMR environment you're not limited to having to use a repeater, you can choose what kind of infrastructure use: you can go with a simplex double slot approach, simplex DCDM, or even simplex Tier I continuous single carrier. And then if you need it, you can chose the repeater double slot option too. You have infrastructure options, which you simply don't have on legacy obsolete stuff. Sure, for ham, P25 Phasie I is certainly fine, to talk about that SWR increase of the newest patch cable on the shack, that doesn't matter, but for a commercial customer, having these options, it makes the difference. (also for a family too) ETSI TS 102 361-x (DMR) was designed pretty much from the ground up to replace FM analog.
Timing slots are for the radios talking at any given moment, there is no need to create an universal timing for the entire country. At any given site, its either the radios themselves (double slot simplex, or dcdm simplex) or a repeater infrastructure that takes care of the timing, and when interconnecting different sites, either using IP Site connect, or any kind of MMDVM, b/c these convert CAI to IP, those packets get sent over the wire to be rebroadcast somewhere else, so how its timed or modulated back to CAI at destination is up to whatever is being done there. Hence why MMDVM can do all this multi mode "ham stuff", you get the IP packet, retrieve the digital voice information and pack it up as P25, NXDN, Fusion... etc.
Also, timing on a DCDM simplex setup (b/c there is no DCDM on repeaters since repeaters operate on 2 timeslots), DMR Tier II radios on DCDM simplex will select a timing leader automatically, and I can see that they will chatter once in a while for a fraction of a second to figure out the timing between all of them, so when you press the PTT, all the radios are already synced up and communication happens.
In regard to DMR radio mixed mode, my Alinco DJ-MD5 does DCDM simplex with mixed mode analog+digital on the same channel, and will transmit back on whatever modulation the last received transmission was on just fine: It can listen and demodulate correctly DMR or analog depending on the signal that is being received. There is no "interoperability" with FM problem there, but at the same time I have all the DMR Tier II options that a legacy system like P25 Phase I simply lacks.
I still don't understand why range, or operating near threshold is relevant to this discussion? Nobody has argued that having better audio to threshold is bad. DMR has that too.... but FM wideband will still reach further. In addition, RF range can be extended using the right infrastructure, better radios, or both.
As for hearing kids on GMRS: here is what happens. First off, I don't hear them breaking the squelch, ever, I never said that. when I hear them is when key my BF-888S running @ 1 watt power, which opens the squelch on all the radios used in the intercom, but if at the same time I am keying my intercom, a 5W portable starts talking, I can hear both radios on the channel. That is the issue I've experienced, which has nothing to do with signaling. Now, when testing DMR all we noticed was a slightly lower audio quality.
DCDM is part of the standard, but standardization isn't the problem. DCDM requires infrastructure, specifically a timing master, in order to keep units synchronized. Handhelds are capable of being the timing master, but their range is poor and the necessary beaconing will drain the batteries. DCDM does not work on mixed systems because there is no way to guarantee there's just one station claiming timing master. In effect, timeslots can't be established on the nationwide, uncoordinated channels that GMRS has. The signaling a repeater uses to establish timeslots is embedded between each timeslot. TDMA transmitters (either on the repeater's input or in simplex mode) don't transmit during that period, since that's a guard period between transmissions.
In TDMA direct mode, an elected channel timing leader MS shall establish the timing reference for both time slots on the frequency. MS units that are not the channel timing leader are responsible for retransmitting the timing reference out to the edge of the wide area system. This mechanism helps to ensure that all MS units in the wide area system are working from the same timing reference. In general a MS transmits in the appropriate slot with the channel slot timing established by the channel timing leader MS.
I was making specific reference to the post-2017 laws. What you're saying in that last post isn't consistent with what you said in your first post (P25 is obsolete vs. P25 offers nothing analog+DTMF can). P25 Phase 1 is still the ONLY P25 format for conventional operation, and it will be some time before we see any format include true direct-mode timeslotting. The hidden-node problem would prevent a radio from using whatever voice traffic it hears out there as a timing master. Solving that would require GPS timeslot edge references (not unattainable with current technology), which would increase equipment costs up to the public-safety realm. I don't think very many of us bought our radios new from a dealer, so we wouldn't be the market for it. Equipment cost is a real concern when the issue of FRS interoperability is introduced; it's still a band for toy radios for your kids.
P25 runs the vocoder at a higher rate than DMR, and equivalently has a higher data rate (7200bps vs. 3600bps after ECC). Yes, the vocoder is inferior, but it still fits in more voice information. Of course wideband FM is better, but that isn't what the topic is about. All digital voice modes will exceed narrowband FM at decode threshold, that's one of the biggest advantages of using digital voice and isn't an advantage of any one format. DMR uses less power for the same signal but only half of the channel's bandwidth can be realized.
This whole thread is just an example of why we'll be using analog for the next twenty years.