Zone expanders are add-on modules that allow the number of inputs from protective loops, or in the case of wireless, the number of supported devices, to be increased. Some are a single zone, while others are multiple, even up to a system maximum amount.
Generally, zone expansion can be accomplished on a compatible panel by either hardwired expansion or by using a wireless receiver, sometimes referred to as a RF expander.
When choosing an alarm panel, consider the amount and type of expansion supported by the control, as not all are created equal, nor do they "expand" the same. Some panels allow zone wiring to be run to a keypad, while others are designed to be installed in the field or at the alarm control unit.