Asterisk allows you build a PBX that can do call routing that is more complex than is possible with an ATA. For example:
My calls are by default routed via the Seattle PoP. If it's unreachable, then they're routed via Montreal, and if both are not working, they're routed via Callcentric.
I can record a phone call by conferencing Asterisk in. This is not limited to VoIP calls. I can also use it from my office or a hotel.
My Asterisk server can immediately notify me if my selected PoP is unreachable, so that I can change my DIDs to point to a different PoP.
The features I require only touch the surface of Asterisk - given the inclination I could make Asterisk do card tricks if necessary.
If you're new to VoIP I don't recommend Asterisk because it is a great deal more complex than a new VoIP user (or most VoIP users) needs. I have a background in software development so I learned it purely to be able to discuss it intelligently.
One other thought. I use a WL-520GU and it can indeed run Asterisk. However, Asus has released a new router since I bought mine called the RT-N16. It's more expensive than the WL-520GU but has specs (memory, CPU, and flash) vastly better than any other router I've ever used. If you may one day want to run Asterisk on a router, I would get the newer RT-N16.
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