What is the functional difference between VoIP phone and Asterisk

Hi, first of all my German is so bad that I am rather going to use English.

For some time I am looking to connect asterisk to my provider (TPG) here in Australia.
They are providing several misleading information like VoIP is encoded, is available only via our modem e.t.c. All that are lies.

I get details of my VoIP account including user and password. I configured Trunk inbound and outbound routes. Trunk is registered but inbound call reports congestion. Well I put the same information to Grandstream phone and everything is working fine.

Can anybody advice what is the difference between phone VoIP and Asterisk VoIP and how to configure Asterisk in that particular case.