An Internet access device uses an automatic configuration process to handle the task of configuring the Internet access device at a customer site for communication with the Internet. Once configured, the customer has electronic mail and other access to the Internet from his local area network. A not yet configured Internet access device is shipped directly to a customer without having to be manually configured first. The customer enters a registration identification number and a telephone number onto the Internet access device. The Internet access device then automatically connects to the Internet, downloads configuration data from a configuration server containing customer site specific configuration data, and then automatically configures itself for communication with the Internet. The Internet access device is simple to install for a customer and provides valuable features such as a router, firewall, e-mail gateway, web server, and other servers. The Internet access device initially connects to the Internet through an Internet service provider over a standard analog telephone line using a standard modem and using a dynamic IP address. Once automatically configured, the Internet access device may then communicate with the Internet using any suitable connection including an analog telephone line, or a higher-speed line such as an ISDN line or a frame relay circuit and is assigned a static IP address and a range of IP addresses for other devices on its local area network.