The performance of the minimum mean-squared error (MMSE) receiver for the detection of direct sequence code division multiple access is considered in various fading channel models. Several modifications to the basic MMSE receiver structure which have been previously proposed for use on nonselective fading channels are reviewed and shown to represent different approximations to a single common form. The performance of this general structure is analyzed as well as various extensions suitable for frequency-selective fading channels. Particular attention is given to the performance advantage gained through knowledge of the fading parameters of the various transmission paths of each user's signal. It is shown that having this knowledge is not particularly useful on a flat fading channel unless the loading is very heavy and even then the difference in performance is only minimal. On the other hand, having this knowledge is crucial in a multipath fading channel and the inability to learn the fading channel parameters will lead to substantial degradation in capacity. A heuristic explanation to support this result based on a dimensionality argument is also presented.